Tuesday, April 1, 2008

"I have seen these ways of God ..."


He brays humanity in a mortar to bring the savor
From the bruised root: a man having bad dreams, who invents victims, is only the ape of that God.
He washes it out with tears and many waters, calcines it with fire in the red crucible,
Deforms it, makes it horrible to itself: the spirit flies out and stands naked, he sees the spirit,
He takes it in the naked ecstasy; it breaks in his hand, the atom is broken, the power that massed it
Cries to the power that moves the stars, “I have come home to myself, behold me.
I bruised myself in the flint mortar and burnt me
In the red shell, I tortured myself, I flew forth,
Stood naked of myself and broke me in fragments,
And here am I moving the stars that are me.”
I have seen these ways of God: I know of no reason
For fire and change and torture and the old returnings.
He being sufficient might be still. I think they admit no reason; they are the ways of my love.
Unmeasured power, incredible passion, enormous craft: no thought apparent but burns darkly
Smothered with its own smoke in the human brain-vault: no thought outside: a certain measure in phenomena:
The fountains of the boiling stars, the flowers on the foreland, the ever-returning roses of dawn.

From "Apology for Bad Dreams," by Robinson Jeffers, (The Selected Poetry of Robinson Jeffers, 2001).
Read the complete poem here. (I hope you will click over to see it, since Blogger's template will not permit me to present it as it should appear on the page.) Be warned, it's pretty harrowing--but since we have to endure the moronic boosterism of National Poetry Month, it's good to be reminded that great poetry is not for weaklings.

The Dream of Raphael, Marcantonio Raimondi (1480-1534). Image from Web Gallery of Art.


chayaruchama said...

You are completely correct.

Grat poetry is clearly NOT for wimps.

Utterly magnificent, and distressing.

chayaruchama said...

and 'great' poetry, too [ WHERE'S THAT COFFEE ?]

Anonymous said...

I bet he's hell to live with.

BitterGrace said...

Jeffers, Renee--or God? Jeffers exited the planet in 1962. His marriage was actually quite passionate and devoted, or so the story goes. God, on the other hand, we all know what a bastard he is ...

Hope you got your coffee, I. ;-)