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Robinson Jeffers - Ascent To The Sierras

Beyond the great valley an odd instinctive rising
Begins to possess the ground, the flatness gathers 
        to little humps and
barrows, low aimless ridges,
A sudden violence of rock crowns them. The crowded 
        orchards end, they
have come to a stone knife;
The farms are finished; the sudden foot of the 
        slerra. Hill over hill,
snow-ridge beyond mountain gather
The blue air of their height about them.

               Here at the foot of the pass
The fierce clans of the mountain you'd think for 
        thousands of years,
Men with harsh mouths and eyes like the eagles' hunger,
Have gathered among these rocks at the dead hour
Of the morning star and the stars waning
To raid the plain and at moonrise returning driven
Their scared booty to the highlands, the tossing horns
And glazed eyes in the light of torches. The men have 
        looked back
Standing above these rock-heads to bark laughter
At the burning granaries and the farms and the town
That sow the dark flat land with terrible rubies...
        lighting the dead...
             It is not true: from this land
The curse was lifted; the highlands have kept peace 
        with the valleys; no
blood in the sod; there is no old sword
Keeping grim rust, no primal sorrow. The people are 
        all one people, their
homes never knew harrying;
The tribes before them were acorn-eaters, harmless 
        as deer. Oh, fortunate
earth; you must find someone
To make you bitter music; how else will you take bonds 
        of the future,
against the wolf in men's hearts?

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Added: Feb 20 2003 | Viewed: 799 times | Comments and analysis of Ascent To The Sierras by Robinson Jeffers Comments (12)

Ascent To The Sierras - Comments and Information

Poet: Robinson Jeffers
Poem: Ascent To The Sierras
Volume: Cawdor And Other Poems
Year: Published/Written in 1928

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