Monday, May 30, 2011


Memorial Day

From Another Time
Returning Home from War was Never Easy
The Changelings

Or ever the battered liners sank
   With their passengers to the dark,
I was head of a Walworth Bank,
   And you were a grocer's clerk.

I was a dealer in stocks and shares,
   And you in butters and teas,
And we both abandoned our own affairs
   And took to the dreadful seas.

Wet and worry about our ways---
   Panic, onset, and flight---
Had us in charge for a thousand days
   And a thousand-year-long night.

We saw more than the nights could hide---
   More than the waves could keep---
And---certain faces over the side
   Which do not go from our sleep.

We were more tired than words can tell
   While the pied craft fled by,
And the swinging mounds of the Western swell
   Hoisted us Heavens-high...

Now there is nothing---not even our rank---
   To witness what we have been;
And I am returned to my Walworth bank,
   And you to your margarine!

Robinson Jeffers
A Fierce Pacifist

July 9, 1937
photographed by Carl Van Vechten

'Jeffers coined the phrase 'inhumanism' -
belief that mankind is too self-centered and too indifferent
to the 'astonishing beauty of things.'
He said that 'inhumanism"'symbolized
humans' inability to 'uncenter' themselves.'
 The Double Axe

"Jeffers explicitly described "inhumanism" as
'a shifting of emphasis and significance from man to not man;
the rejection of human solipsism,
and recognition of trans-human magnificence.'-"

This manner of thought and feeling is neither misanthropic nor pessimist.
It offers a reasonable detachment as rule of conduct.
Instead of love, hate and envy, it provides magnificence for the religious instinct,
and satisfies our need to admire greatness and rejoice in beauty.

Wise Men In Their Bad Hours

Look How Beautiful

The Rock And The Hawk
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. 
 more about
The Double Ax
(varied sources with brief excerpts from each)

"Jeffers political philosophy was that of an inveterate naturalist and environmentalist. He denounced human lust for power and victory as short-sighted and self-destructive, while he hoped to glimpse, at the larger natural scheme of the world not predicated on human relations, a reality which defied time, history, emotion and memory, but at the same time encompassed all of these aspects of human perception"

"The poet is Robinson Jeffers, poet laureate of the Old Right,

whose censored volume of verse, The Double Axe, published in 1946,
shocked his longtime editors at Random House,
where Bennett Cerf would not countenance reference to
'the cripple’s power-need' of Roosevelt.

"When Robinson Jeffers first broke upon the literary scene,
humanist critics indicted his "amoral" philosophy.
With the whole body of his work before us, however,
it is apparent that, on the contrary,
his moral stance was positively forbidding,
gaining its power from
an almost primordial sense of Original Sin." 

"There is no reason for amazement: surely
one always knew that cultures decay,
and life's end is death"


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