Saturday, July 26, 2008

Jeffers, the antidote to Longfellow

Here is the skull of a man: a man’s thoughts and emotions
Have moved under the thin bone vault like clouds
Under the blue one: love and desire and pain,
Thunderclouds of wrath and white gales of fear
Have hung inside here: and sometimes the curious desire of knowing
Values and purpose and the causes of things
Has coasted like a little observer air-plane over the images
That filled this mind: it never discovered much,
And now all’s empty, a bone bubble, a blown-out eggshell.

From "De Rerum Virtute" by Robinson Jeffers. Complete text at Poetry Foundation.


Mary said...

Great poem. 'Bone bubble', how fantastic is that?

Anonymous said...

I've never read this. Wonderful poem. Does "blown-out egg" refer to the beautiful delicate eggshells we used to produce at Easter by putting a pin prick in both ends and "blowing" the yolk out, or does it refer to something ruptured or burst? I kind of like the latter, since the bursting eggshell suggests regeneration, a new chick, continuity.

BitterGrace said...

When Jeffers is bad he's pretty bad, but when he's good he's incredible.

Funny Bozo, I read it completely in your latter sense, as a rupture--but the Easter egg image is pretty compelling.