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Robinson Jeffers - To A Young Artist

It is good for strength not to be merciful
To its own weakness, good for the deep urn to run
     over, good to explore
The peaks and the deeps, who can endure it,
Good to be hurt, who can be healed afterward: but
     you that have whetted consciousness
Too bitter an edge, too keenly daring,
So that the color of a leaf can make you tremble
     and your own thoughts like harriers
Tear the live mind: were your bones mountains,
Your blood rivers to endure it? and all that labor
     of discipline labors to death.
Delight is exquisite, pain is more present;
You have sold the armor, you have bought shining
     with burning, one should be stronger than
To fight baresark in the stabbing field
In the rage of the stars: I tell you unconsciousness
     is the treasure, the tower, the fortress;
Referred to that one may live anything;
The temple and the tower: poor dancer on the flints
     and shards in the temple porches,   turn home.

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Added: Feb 20 2003 | Viewed: 3397 times | Comments and analysis of To A Young Artist by Robinson Jeffers Comments (1)

To A Young Artist - Comments and Information

Poet: Robinson Jeffers
Poem: To A Young Artist
Volume: Cawdor And Other Poems
Year: Published/Written in 1928
Poem of the Day: Apr 9 2009

Comment 1 of 1, added on July 25th, 2010 at 11:21 PM.

How so--no comments? This poem inquires about the courage to create, and asks if the artist is actually up to it. How does one find what matters most--in a way that doesn't bring destruction by way of the search? In the end, it is the whole person who must search, along with all who have come before. A goal or desire of the moment won't do. And in the end, the merely personal is destined to be turned under like the stubble in a field, in the path of the harrow.

Daryl Scroggins from United States

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