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Biography of Robinson Jeffers

Robinson Jeffers

Robinson Jeffers (1887 - 1962)

John Robinson Jeffers (January 10, 1887-January 20, 1962) was an American poet who, after extensive travel in his youth, spent most of his life in Carmel, California, USA in a granite home he built for his family with his own hands, which included a large stone tower. He called them "Tor House" and "Hawk ower".

His short verse includes "Hurt Hawks", "The Purse-Seine", and "Shine, Perishing Republic". His intense relationship with the physical world is described in often brutal and apocalyptic verse and demonstrates a preference for the natural world over what he sees as the negative influence of civilization.


"There is no reason for amazement: surely one always knew that cultures decay, and life's end is death." ~ "The Purse-Seine" (1937)

"Long live freedom and damn the ideologies." ~ "The Stars Go Over The Lonely Ocean" (1940)

"Corruption never has been compulsory; when the cities lie at the monster's feet there are left the mountains." ~ "Shine, Perishing Republic" (1941)

Biography by: This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License and uses material adapted in whole or in part from the Wikipedia article on Robinson Jeffers.

58 Poems written by Robinson Jeffers

The poems are by default sorted according to volume, but you can also choose to sort them alphabetically or by page views.

Volume | Alphabetically | Page Views | Comments | [First Lines]

First LineComments
A little too abstract, a little too wise, Comments and analysis of Return by Robinson Jeffers 1 Comment
Beyond the great valley an odd instinctive rising Comments and analysis of Ascent To The Sierras by Robinson Jeffers 12 Comments
Beyond the narrows of the Inner Hebrides
Civilized, crying: how to be human again; this will tell you how.
Guard yourself from the terrible empty light of space, the bottomless
Here is a symbol in which Comments and analysis of Rock And Hawk by Robinson Jeffers 686 Comments
I Comments and analysis of Hurt Hawks by Robinson Jeffers 252 Comments
I am heaping the bones of the old mother
I chose the bed downstairs by the sea-window for a good death-bed Comments and analysis of The Bed By The Window by Robinson Jeffers 2 Comments
I followed the narrow cliffside trail half way up the mountain
I had walked since dawn and lay down to rest on a bare hillside Comments and analysis of Vulture by Robinson Jeffers 2 Comments
I have abhorred the wars and despised the liars, laughed at the frightened Comments and analysis of We Are Those People by Robinson Jeffers 2 Comments
I. Reference to a Passage in Plutarch's Life of Sulla Comments and analysis of The Broken Balance by Robinson Jeffers 2 Comments
If God has been good enough to give you a poet Comments and analysis of Let Them Alone by Robinson Jeffers 6 Comments
If you should look for this place after a handful Comments and analysis of Tor House by Robinson Jeffers 2 Comments
Is it not by his high superfluousness we know Comments and analysis of The Excesses Of God by Robinson Jeffers 1 Comment
It is good for strength not to be merciful Comments and analysis of To A Young Artist by Robinson Jeffers 1 Comment
Joy is a trick in the air; pleasure is merely
No bitterness: our ancestors did it. Comments and analysis of Ave Caesar by Robinson Jeffers 42 Comments
Only stand high a long enough time your lightning
Our sardine fishermen work at night in the dark Comments and analysis of The Purse-Seine by Robinson Jeffers 1 Comment
Peace is the heir of dead desire,
Reason will not decide at last; the sword will decide. Comments and analysis of Contemplation Of The Sword by Robinson Jeffers 1 Comment
Seventy years ago my mother labored to bear me,
Stone-cutters fighting time with marble, you foredefeated
That public men publish falsehoods Comments and analysis of Be Angry At The Sun by Robinson Jeffers 8 Comments
The Atlantic is a stormy moat; and the Mediterranean,
The best is, in war or faction or ordinary vindictive
The bird with the dark plumes in my blood,
The continent's a tamed ox, with all its mountains,
The deer were bounding like blown leaves Comments and analysis of Fire On The Hills by Robinson Jeffers 2 Comments
The extraordinary patience of things! Comments and analysis of Carmel Point by Robinson Jeffers 25 Comments
The heads of strong old age are beautiful
The heroic stars spending themselves, Comments and analysis of The Epic Stars by Robinson Jeffers 19 Comments
The little biplane that has the river-meadow for landing-field Comments and analysis of The Machine by Robinson Jeffers 4 Comments
The mad girl with the staring eyes and long white fingers Comments and analysis of Cassandra by Robinson Jeffers 3 Comments
The old voice of the ocean, the bird-chatter of little rivers, Comments and analysis of Natural Music by Robinson Jeffers 3 Comments
The old woman sits on a bench before the door and quarrels
The storm-dances of gulls, the barking game of seals, Comments and analysis of Divinely Superfluous Beauty by Robinson Jeffers 9 Comments
The universe expands and contracts like a great heart.
The world has many seas, Mediterranean, Atlantic, but Comments and analysis of Contrast by Robinson Jeffers 1 Comment
Then what is the answer?- Not to be deluded by dreams. Comments and analysis of The Answer by Robinson Jeffers 6 Comments
There is a hawk that is picking the birds out of our sky,
There is a jaggle of masonry here, on a small hill Comments and analysis of Ghost by Robinson Jeffers 5 Comments
They burned lime on the hill and dropped it down
This country least, but every inhabited country Comments and analysis of Praise Life by Robinson Jeffers 8 Comments
This morning Hitler spoke in Danzig, we hear his voice.
To be an ape in little of the mountain-making mother Comments and analysis of On Building With Stone by Robinson Jeffers 1 Comment
Unhappy about some far off things
We have now won two world-wars, neither of which concerned us, we were
What's the best life for a man?
When I was young in school in Switzerland, about the time of the Boer War, Comments and analysis of End Of The World by Robinson Jeffers 1 Comment
When the sun shouts and people abound Comments and analysis of Summer Holiday by Robinson Jeffers 1 Comment
While this America settles in the mould of its vulgarity, heavily thickening Comments and analysis of Shine, Perishing Republic by Robinson Jeffers 87 Comments
Why listen, even the water is sobbing for something.
Wise men in their bad hours have envied Comments and analysis of Wise Men In Their Bad Hours by Robinson Jeffers 1 Comment
"I hate my verses, every line, every word. Comments and analysis of Love The Wild Swan by Robinson Jeffers 1 Comment

Books by Robinson Jeffers
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