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Earthly Poems #4

 

credit: Mischa Blattner

credit: Mischa Blattner

 

No series of earthly poems would be complete without an offering from Robinson Jeffers. His poetry is weighty and brooding and no one will ever speak to the essence of raptors, rock, and ocean the way he did. He was never afraid of examining darkness, looking at it unflinchingly. He was always matter-of-fact about the destructiveness of humans, grieving without slipping into despair.

This ability to work with the shadow is vital to any honest spirituality, and Jeffers’ poetry demonstrates how nature is a powerful guide through this terrain. This poem, like so many of his works, contrasts sharply with the ebullient, celebratory tone of a lot of nature poetry. But there is something in its clear-eyed seriousness, and invitation to rest, that I find soothing and reassuring.

 

The Low Sky

No vulture is here, hardly a hawk,
Could long wings or great eyes fly
Under this low-lidded soft sky?

On the wide heather the curlew’s whistle
Dies of its echo, it has no room
Under the low lid of this tomb.

But one to whom mind and imagination
Sometimes used to seem burdensome
Is glad to lie down awhile in the tomb.

Among stones and quietness
The mind dissolves without a sound,
The flesh drops into the ground.

~ Robinson Jeffers

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