The Lovers’ Almanac 10 January – verse by Robinson Jeffers

Dear Zazie,  Here is today’s Lovers’ Almanac from Mac Tag dedicated to his muse.  Rhett

The Lovers’ Almanac – Pale Love, Pale Rider

Dear Muse,

Blinded by this wanderin’ light
Swear at night where the Fates plunge you
Always keep: your fadin’ pleasure
She escapes already
At least you have seen Shine
It will cross your path once again
Fallin’ you can take it with you
In the far far away
For She reigns at the bottom of the mournful sky
Ruthless bein’, contemplate sufferin’,
Considerin’ Her eternal eye, impassive,
It will come and go
On the edge of forever, and under this look,
A moment of love, be still your farewell
Do you see now, how it must be
For the unforgiven

© copyright 2016 mac tag/cowboy Coleridge all rights reserved

Robinson Jeffers

Robinson Jeffers, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, July 9, 1937

Today is the birthday of John Robinson Jeffers (Allegheny, Pennsylvania; January 10, 1887 – January 20, 1962 Carmel, Californai); American poet, known for his work about the central California coast.


  • O that our souls could scale a height like this,
    A mighty mountain swept o’er by the bleak
    Keen winds of heaven
    ; and, standing on that peak
    Above the blinding clouds of prejudice,
    Would we could see all truly as it is;
    The calm eternal truth would keep us meek.

    • A Hill-Top View (1904); This is one of his earliest poems, printed in the the Aurora, a student publication of Occidental College.
  • At the equinox when the earth was veiled in a late rain, wreathed with wet poppies, waiting spring
    The ocean swelled for a far storm and beat its boundary, the ground-swell shook the beds of granite.I gazing at the boundaries of granite and spray, the established sea-marks, felt behind me
    Mountain and plain, the immense breadth of the continent, before me the mass and double stretch of water.

    • “Continent’s End” in Tamar and Other Poems (1924)
  • The long migrations meet across you and it is nothing to you, you have forgotten us, mother.
    You were much younger when we crawled out of the womb and lay in the sun’s eye on the tideline.
    It was long and long ago; we have grown proud since then and you have grown bitter; life retains
    Your mobile soft unquiet strength; and envies hardness, the insolent quietness of stone.

    • “Continent’s End” in Tamar and Other Poems (1924)
  • The tides are in our veins, we still mirror the stars, life is your child, but there is in me
    Older and harder than life and more impartial, the eye that watched before there was an ocean.

    • “Continent’s End” in Tamar and Other Poems (1924)
  • Mother, though my song’s measure is like your surf-beat’s ancient rhythm I never learned it of you.
    Before there was any water there were tides of fire, both our tones flow from the older fountain.

    • “Continent’s End” in Tamar and Other Poems (1924)
  • Stone-cutters fighting time with marble, you fore-defeated
    Challengers of oblivion
    Eat cynical earnings, knowing rock splits, records fall down,
    The square-limbed Roman letters
    Scale in the thaws, wear in the rain.

    • “To The Stone-Cutters” in Tamar and Other Poems (1924)
  • Happy people die whole, they are all dissolved in a moment,
    they have had what they wanted

    • “Post Mortem” in The Women at Point Sur (1927)
  • I have seen these ways of God: I know of no reason
    For fire and change and torture and the old returnings.

    • “Apology for Bad Dreams” in The Women at Point Sur (1927)
  • I hate my verses, every line, every word.
    Oh pale and brittle pencils ever to try
    One grass-blade’s curve, or the throat of one bird
    That clings to twig, ruffled against white sky.

    Oh cracked and twilight mirrors ever to catch
    One color, one glinting flash, of the splendor of things.

    • “Love the Wild Swan” (1935)


  • This wild swan of a world is no hunter’s game.
    Better bullets than yours would miss the white breast
    Better mirrors than yours would crack in the flame.
    Does it matter whether you hate your . . . self?
    At least Love your eyes that can see, your mind that can
    Hear the music, the thunder of the wings. Love the wild swan.

    • “Love the Wild Swan” (1935)
  • Here is a symbol in which
    Many high tragic thoughts
    Watch their own eyes.

    • “Rock and Hawk” in Solstice and Other Poems (1935)
  • 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.

    • “Rock and Hawk” in Solstice and Other Poems (1935)
  • Then what is the answer? — Not to be deluded by dreams.
    To know that great civilizations have broken down into violence, and their tyrants come, many times before.
    When open violence appears, to avoid it with honor or choose the least ugly faction; these evils are essential.
    To keep one’s own integrity, be merciful and uncorrupted and not wish for evil; and not be duped
    By dreams of universal justice or happiness. These dreams will not be fulfilled.

    • “The Answer” (1936)
  • Know that however ugly the parts appear
    the whole remains beautiful.
    A severed hand
    Is an ugly thing and man dissevered from the earth and stars
    and his history… for contemplation or in fact…
    Often appears atrociously ugly. Integrity is wholeness,
    the greatest beauty is
    Organic wholeness, the wholeness of life and things, the divine beauty
    of the universe. Love that, not man
    Apart from that, or else you will share man’s pitiful confusions,
    or drown in despair when his days darken.

    • “The Answer” (1936)
  • There is no reason for amazement: surely one always knew that cultures decay, and life’s end is death.
    • “The Purse-Seine” (1937)
  • Reason will not decide at last; the sword will decide.
    The sword: an obsolete instrument of bronze or steel,
    formerly used to kill men, but here
    In the sense of a symbol.

    • “Contemplation of The Sword” (1938)
  • Dear God, who are the whole splendor of things and the sacred
    stars, but also the cruelty and greed, the treacheries
    And vileness, insanities and filth and anguish: now that this
    thing comes near us again I am finding it hard
    To praise you with a whole heart.

    • “Contemplation of The Sword” (1938)
  • I sadly smiling remember that the flower fades to make fruit, the fruit rots
    to make earth.

    • “Shine, Perishing Republic” (1939)
  • Meteors are not needed less than mountains:
    shine, perishing republic.

    • “Shine, Perishing Republic” (1939)
  • Corruption never has been compulsory; when the cities lie at the monster’s feet there are left the mountains.
    • “Shine, Perishing Republic” (1939)
  • 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.

    • “Shine, Perishing Republic” (1939)
  • The world’s in a bad way, my man,
    And bound to be worse before it mends
    Better lie up in the mountain here
    Four or five centuries,
    While the stars go over the lonely ocean…

    • “The Stars Go Over The Lonely Ocean” (1940)
  • Keep clear of the dupes that talk democracy
    And the dogs that talk revolution
    Drunk with talk, liars and believers.
    I believe in my tusks.
    Long live freedom and damn the ideologies.

    • “The Stars Go Over The Lonely Ocean” (1940)
  • 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.

    • “Be Angry At The Sun” (1941)
  • The gang serves lies, the passionate
    Man plays his part; the cold passion for truth
    Hunts in no pack.

    • “Be Angry At The Sun” (1941)

I will have shepherds for my philosophers,
Tall dreary men lying on the hills all night
Watching the stars, let their dogs watch the sheep.
And I’ll have lunatics
For my poets, strolling from farm to farm, wild liars distorting
The country news into supernaturalism —
For all men to such minds are devils or gods — and that increases
Man’s dignity, man’s importance, necessary lies
Best told by fools.

  • “The Silent Shepherds” (1958)
  • Science and mathematics
    Run parallel to reality, they symbolize it, they squint at it,
    They never touch it
    : consider what an explosion
    Would rock the bones of men into little white fragments and unsky the world
    If any mind for a moment touch truth.

    • “The Silent Shepherds” (1958)
  • He is no God of love, no justice of a little city like
    Dante’s Florence, no anthropoid God
    Making commandments: this is the God who does not
    care and will never cease.
    Look at the seas there
    Flashing against this rock in the darkness — look at the
    tide-stream stars — and the fall of nations — and dawn
    Wandering with wet white feet down the Carmel Valley
    to meet the sea. These are real and we see their beauty.
    The great explosion is probably only a metaphor — I know
    not — of faceless violence, the root of all things.

    • “The Great Explosion” in the posthumous publication The Beginning and the End (1973)
  • Come little ones,
    You are worth no more than the foxes and yellow
    wolfkins, yet I will give you wisdom.
    O future children:
    Trouble is coming; the world as of the present time
    Sails on its rocks; but you will be born and live
    Afterwards. Also a day will come when the earth
    Will scratch herself and smile and rub off humanity
    But you will be born before that.Time will come, no doubt,
    When the sun too shall die; the planets will freeze,
    and the air on them; frozen gases, white flasks of air
    Will be dust: which no wind ever will stir: this very
    dust in dim starlight glistening
    Is dead wind, the white corpse of wind.
    Also the galaxy will die; the glitter of the Milky Way,
    our universe, all the stars that have names are dead.
    Vast is the night. How you have grown, dear night,
    walking your empty halls, how tall!

    • The Double Axe and Other Poems, including eleven suppressed poems (1977) II.The Inhumanist XLV
  • When the sun shouts and people abound
    One thinks there were the ages of stone and the age of bronze
    And the iron age; iron the unstable metal;
    Steel made of iron, unstable as his mother; the towered-up cities
    Will be stains of rust on mounds of plaster.
    Roots will not pierce the heaps for a time, kind rains will cure them,
    Then nothing will remain of the iron age
    And all these people but a thigh-bone or so, a poem
    Stuck in the world’s thought, splinters of glass
    In the rubbish dumps, a concrete dam far off in the mountain…

    • “Summer Holiday”


  • The extraordinary patience of things!
    This beautiful place defaced with a crop of suburban houses —
    How beautiful when we first beheld it,
    Unbroken field of poppy and lupin walled with clean cliffs;
    No intrusion but two or three horses pasturing…

    • “Carmel Point”
  • Now the spoiler has come: does it care?
    Not faintly. It has all time. It knows the people are a tide
    That swells and in time will ebb, and all
    Their works dissolve.
    Meanwhile the image of the pristine beauty
    Lives in the very grain of the granite,
    Safe as the endless ocean that climbs our cliff. — As for us:
    We must uncenter our minds from ourselves;
    We must unhumanize our views a little, and become confident
    As the rock and ocean that we were made from.

    • “Carmel Point”
  • Against the outcrop boulders of a raised beach
    We built our house when I and my love were young.

    • “The Last Conservative”
  • The rock-cheeks have red fire-stains.
    But the place was maiden, no previous
    Building, no neighbors, nothing but the elements,
    Rock, wind, and sea; in moon-struck nights the mountain
    Coyotes howled in our dooryard; or doe and fawn
    Stared in the lamplit window, We raised two boys here
    All that we saw or heard was beautiful
    And hardly human.
    Oh heavy change.
    The world deteriorates like a rotting apple, worms and a skin.
    They have built streets around us, new houses
    Line them and cars obsess them — and my dearest has died.
    The ocean at least is not changed at all,Cold, grim, and faithful; and I still keep a hard edge of forest
    Haunted by long gray squirrels and hoarse herons.

    • “The Last Conservative”
  • If you should look for this place after a handful of lifetimes:
    Perhaps of my planted forest a few
    May stand yet
    , dark-leaved Australians or the coast cypress, haggard
    With storm-drift; but fire and the axe are devils.
    Look for foundations of sea-worn granite, my fingers had the art
    To make stone love stone, you will find some remnant.

    But if you should look in your idleness after ten thousand years:
    It is the granite knoll on the granite
    And lava tongue in the midst of the bay, by the mouth of the Carmel
    River Valley; these four will remain
    In the changes of names. You will know it by the wild sea-fragrance of the wind.

    • “Tor House”
  • Here from this mountain shore, headland beyond stormy headland
    plunging like dolphins through the blue sea-smoke
    Into pale sea — look west at the hill of water: it is half the planet:
    this dome, this half-globe, this bulging
    Eyeball of water, arched over to Asia,
    Australia and white Antarctica: those are the eyelids that never close;
    this is the staring unsleeping
    Eye of the earth; and what it watches is not our wars.

    • “The Eye”

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