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Monday, 2 August 2010

Robinson Jeffers: Rock and Hawk


Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus anatum) in flight, Morro Bay, California: photo by Kevin Cole, 2008

Here is a symbol in which
Many high tragic thoughts
Watch their own eyes.

This gray rock, standing tall
On the headland, where the seawind
Lets no tree grow,

Earthquake-proved, and signatured
By ages of storms: on its peak
A falcon has perched.

I think, here is your emblem,
To hang in the future sky;
Not the cross, not the hive,

But this; bright power, dark peace;
Fierce consciousness joined with final

Life with calm death; the falcon’s
Realist eyes and act
Married to the massive

Mysticism of stone,
Which failure cannot cast down
Nor success make proud.


Carmel-by-the-Sea, California: photo by Arnold Genthe, c. 1906-1911 (Library of Congress)

Rock and Hawk: Robinson Jeffers, from Solstice and Other Poems, 1935




Nice, old Jeffers down there in Carmel-by-the-sea, thinking (writing) such things. And in our parallel universes, look what has just 'appeared' here. . . .


grey whiteness of fog against invisible
ridge, red-tailed hawk calling in right
foreground, no sound of wave in channel

ways of concealing, say that
come into relation with

waiting, not knowing exactly
when, what happens next

grey=white of fog against top of ridge,
circular green pine on tip of sandspit

TC said...


I love seeing the way these landscape element modules rotate.

Yesterday, wave-sound in channel. Today, no wave-sound in channel.

Yesterday, grey-white of fog reflected in channel. Today, grey-white of fog against top of ridge.

51 degrees here, last time I looked, just before dawn. Dawn a fog-shrouded clay-toned whitening. The vista: a shred of ripped tarp, depending.

waiting, not knowing exactly
when, what happens next

Yesterday a tern, today a red-tailed hawk.

The natural world in the variety of its magnificence.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...


Many, many thanks for this and for the dedication over at animal prayer.

In the lovely synchronicity that makes life worth living and then some, this is for you from an post earlier this year.

Falcon married to the mysticism of stone.


TC said...

"Ultimately, his beliefs were broad enough to contain all the beauty and all the terror that is nature, that is our existence. Think stern but loving parent. Think tough love.

"Think Bodhisattva."

That's right on the mark, Don. Many thanks.

Arcadi said...

He aquí un símbolo
en el que muchos trágicos y elevados pensamientos
vieron su mirada reflejada.
La peña gris en el otero,
allí dónde la ventisca marina
no deja crecer árbol alguno,
mellada por siglos de tormenta y a prueba de temblor. Ahí, en su cumbre
se posó un halcón.
Pienso: aquí está tu emblema.
Suspendido del cielo futuro.
No de la cruz ni del enjambre.
Esto en cambio: poder lúcido, oscura paz.
Feroz conciencia unida a
definitivo desapego.
Vida junto a calma muerte;
la mirada y ademán reales del halcón
esposados al denso misticismo de la piedra
Al que ningún fracaso lanzará al vacío ni triunfo llenará de orgullo.

Amateur´s enthusiasm , excuse any error. Thank you Mr. Clark. Cuídese . Salud.

TC said...


Su traducción tiene la belleza dura y la dignidad del poema y del halcón.

Estas cosas soportar.

Me gustaría pensar que el espíritu de Robinson Jeffers se aprecia esta traducción en la eternidad.

Elmo St. Rose said...

on the Mexican coin
there was a bird of prey
with a snake in it's

I saw this once in the hills
of Kansas
and felt blessed to see
one of natures mysteries
so commonly viewed on
Mexican coins
but only once by me

Jeffers had a way to convey
is ness.
My personal feeling is that
the birds are not
entirely a force of nature
apart from humans

Curtis Roberts said...

Thanks everybody (esp. Steve, "grey=white of fog"; that's very fine). These raised a very enervated day. A long time ago, when I first read and admired Robinson Jeffers, I was sort of shamed and scolded from it and directed to other things. The Jeffers I've read here, and the extraordinary images presented that seem to come through Jeffers' eyes, have allowed me to reclaim something unique and valuable. I think the least likely line to quote would be "I think, here is your emblem,To hang in the future sky", so I'll quote it. It's great.

TC said...

Thanks Elmo and Curtis.

Beautiful this:

I saw this once in the hills
of Kansas
and felt blessed to see
one of natures mysteries
so commonly viewed on
Mexican coins
but only once by me

Curtis, ever since Postmodernism slouched into American Universities to be born, entire waves of potential readers have been shamed and scolded away from Jeffers. He seems to make certain people very anxious. This I love about him. I am very happy you are now getting to know him. A contraband delight of the first order, and a great respecter of raptors and rocks. To each part and mood and aspect of nature and the world of the actual, let its due be given.



Thanks very much, for this noticing and reading -- one doesn't know whether anyone (else) gets it, as you here indeed do . . . . .


And thanks Curtis, for noting that "grey-white of fog". . . .

Anonymous said...

"Mysticism of stone" that!