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.
(more)

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

3 comments:

Mary said...

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

Bozo 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.