Three Poems by Robinson Jeffers

bierstadt 1Albert Bierstadt, Sunset over the Plains, 1887

The Day is a Poem
Robinson Jeffers–1939

This morning Hitler spoke in Danzig, we heard his voice.
A man of genius: that is, of amazing
Ability, courage, devotion, cored on a sick child’s soul,
Heard clearly through the dog-wrath, a sick child
Wailing in Danzig; invoking destruction and wailing at it.
Here, the day was extremely hot; about noon
A south wind like a blast from hell’s mouth spilled a slight rain
On the parched land, and at five a light earthquake
Danced the house, no harm done. Tonight I have been amusing myself.
Watching the blood-red moon droop slowly
Into black sea through bursts of dry lightning and distant thunder.
Well: the day is a poem: but too much:
Like one of Jeffers’s, crusted with blood and barbaric omens,
Painful to excess, inhuman as a hawk’s cry.

bierstadt 2Albert Bierstadt, Seal Rock, California, 1872

Shine, Perishing Republic
Robinson Jeffers – 1925

While this America settles in the mould of its vulgarity,
heavily thickening to empire,
And protest, only a bubble in the molten mass, pops
and sighs out, and the mass hardens,

I sadly remember that the flower fades to make fruit,
The fruit rots to make earth.
Out of the mother; and through the spring exultances,
ripeness and decadence; and home to the mother.

You making haste on decay: not blameworthy; life is good,
be it stubbornly long or suddenly
A mortal splendor: meteors are not needed less than mountains:
shine, perishing republic.

But for my children, I would have them keep their distance from the
thickening center; corruption
Never has been compulsory, when the cities lie at the monster’s
feet there are left the mountains.

And boys, be in nothing so moderate as in love of man, a clever
servant, insufferable master.
There is the trap that catches noblest spirits, that caught-they say–
God, when he walked on earth.

burchfield 1Charles Burchfield, November Dawn, 1926

Be Angry at the Sun
Robinson Jeffers–1941

That public men publish falsehoods
Is nothing new. That America must accept
Like the historical republics corruption and empire
Has been known for years.

Be angry at the sun for setting
If these things anger you. Watch the wheel slope
and turn,
They are all bound on the wheel, these people,
Those warriors,
This republic, Europe, Asia.

Observe them gesticulating,
Observe them going down. The gang serves lies,
the passionate
Man plays his part; the cold passion for truth
Hunts in no pack.

You are not Catullus, you know,
To lampoon these crude sketches of Caesar. You are far
From Dante’s feet, but even farther from his dirty
Political hatreds.

Let boys want pleasure, and men
Struggle for power, and women perhaps for fame,
And the servile to serve a Leader and dupes
to be duped.
Yours is not theirs.

About trueoutsider

I'm an artist.
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3 Responses to Three Poems by Robinson Jeffers

  1. margaretkrug says:

    Wow! Thank you for this beauty!

  2. trueoutsider says:

    Thanks, my friend. I love seeing that Burchfield November dawn as that’s what’s all around us now. Every change of season is so spectacular for me now as I didn’t realized how much I missed the dramatic changes living in New Mexico for so many years.

  3. margaretkrug says:

    The season and the beauty are palpable in the Burchfield. The Jeffers’ poems paired, so carefully, with each painting bring moving perception – much appreciated.

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