I had walked since dawn and lay down to rest on a bare hillside
Above the ocean. I saw through half-shut eyelids a vulture wheeling
high up in heaven,
And presently it passed again, but lower and nearer, its orbit
narrowing,
I understood then
That I was under inspection. I lay death-still and heard the flight-
feathers
Whistle above me and make their circle and come nearer.
I could see the naked red head between the great wings
Bear downward staring. I said, “My dear bird, we are wasting time
here.
These old bones will still work; they are not for you.” But how
beautiful
he looked, gliding down
On those great sails; how beautiful he looked, veering away in the
sea-light
over the precipice. I tell you solemnly
That I was sorry to have disappointed him. To be eaten by that beak
and
become part of him, to share those wings and those eyes–
What a sublime end of one’s body, what and enskyment; what a life
after death.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Robinson Jeffers's poem Vulture

1 Comment

  1. ea says:

    what an “enskyment” – what a great word. Thank you Mr. Jeffers.

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