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.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Robinson Jeffers's poem To A Young Artist

1 Comment

  1. Daryl Scroggins says:

    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.

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