Poetry Forum Areas

Introduce Yourself

New to PoetrySoup? Introduce yourself here. Tell us something about yourself.

Looking for a Poem

Can't find a poem you've read before? Looking for a poem for a special person or an occasion? Ask other member for help.

Writing Poetry

Ways to improve your poetry. Post your techniques, tips, and creative ideas how to write better.

High Critique

For poets who want unrestricted constructive criticism. This is NOT a vanity workshop. If you do not want your poem seriously critiqued, do not post here. Constructive criticism only. PLEASE Only Post One Poem a Day!!!

How do I...?

Ask PoetrySoup Members how to do something or find something on PoetrySoup.

You have an ad blocker! We understand, but...

PoetrySoup is a small privately owned website. Our means of support comes from advertising revenue. We want to keep PoetrySoup alive, make it better, and keep it free. Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on PoetrySoup. See how to enable ads while keeping your ad blocker active. Also, did you know you can become a PoetrySoup Lifetime Premium Member and block ads forever...while getting many more great features. Take a look! Thank you!

The Purse-Seine

 Our sardine fishermen work at night in the dark
 of the moon; daylight or moonlight
They could not tell where to spread the net, 
 unable to see the phosphorescence of the 
 shoals of fish.
They work northward from Monterey, coasting Santa Cruz; off New Year's Point or off Pigeon Point The look-out man will see some lakes of milk-color light on the sea's night-purple; he points, and the helmsman Turns the dark prow, the motorboat circles the gleaming shoal and drifts out her seine-net.
They close the circle And purse the bottom of the net, then with great labor haul it in.
I cannot tell you How beautiful the scene is, and a little terrible, then, when the crowded fish Know they are caught, and wildly beat from one wall to the other of their closing destiny the phosphorescent Water to a pool of flame, each beautiful slender body sheeted with flame, like a live rocket A comet's tail wake of clear yellow flame; while outside the narrowing Floats and cordage of the net great sea-lions come up to watch, sighing in the dark; the vast walls of night Stand erect to the stars.
Lately I was looking from a night mountain-top On a wide city, the colored splendor, galaxies of light: how could I help but recall the seine-net Gathering the luminous fish? I cannot tell you how beautiful the city appeared, and a little terrible.
I thought, We have geared the machines and locked all together into inter-dependence; we have built the great cities; now There is no escape.
We have gathered vast populations incapable of free survival, insulated From the strong earth, each person in himself helpless, on all dependent.
The circle is closed, and the net Is being hauled in.
They hardly feel the cords drawing, yet they shine already.
The inevitable mass-disasters Will not come in our time nor in our children's, but we and our children Must watch the net draw narrower, government take all powers--or revolution, and the new government Take more than all, add to kept bodies kept souls--or anarchy, the mass-disasters.
These things are Progress; Do you marvel our verse is troubled or frowning, while it keeps its reason? Or it lets go, lets the mood flow In the manner of the recent young men into mere hysteria, splintered gleams, crackled laughter.
But they are quite wrong.
There is no reason for amazement: surely one always knew that cultures decay, and life's end is death.

Poem by
Biography | Poems | Best Poems | Short Poems | Quotes | Email Poem - The Purse-SeineEmail Poem | Create an image from this poem

Poems are below...

Top Robinson Jeffers Poems

Analysis and Comments on The Purse-Seine

Provide your analysis, explanation, meaning, interpretation, and comments on the poem The Purse-Seine here.