The beautiful secret: Robinson Jeffers

From an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times:

[Robinson] Jeffers celebrated the "transhuman magnificence" of nature, the beautiful things both vast and near that can provide even a 21st century reader with solace, even if we are often a muddled, ugly species and even if all things, as they do, fade away. 

Don't often hear poets extolled on the editorial pages of a major newspaper. At the heart of the essay is a quote from a poem written late in Jeffers' life, after he had suffered many grevious losses:


Cokinos writes:

Jeffers goes on, considering what is gone (his beloved wife) and what remains (trees that herons nest in, the material universe as a kind of divinity). He still "can feel the beautiful secret/In places and stars and stones…/I wish that all human creatures might feel it./That would make joy in the world, and make men perhaps a little nobler — as a handful of wildflowers."




The beautiful secret…  


Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

One thought on “The beautiful secret: Robinson Jeffers

  1. Timely, he penciled a few good slaps at guile too 🙂

    That public men publish falsehoods
    Is nothing new. That America must accept
    Like the historical republics corruption and empire
    Has been known for years.

    Be angry at the sun for setting
    If these things anger you. Watch the wheel slope and turn,
    They are all bound on the wheel, these people, those warriors.
    This republic, Europe, Asia.

    Observe them gesticulating,
    Observe them going down. The gang serves lies, the passionate
    Man plays his part; the cold passion for truth
    Hunts in no pack.

    You are not Catullus, you know,
    To lampoon these crude sketches of Caesar. You are far
    From Dante’s feet, but even farther from his dirty
    Political hatreds.

    Let boys want pleasure, and men
    Struggle for power, and women perhaps for fame,
    And the servile to serve a Leader and the dupes to be duped.
    Yours is not theirs.

    Robinson Jeffers, Be Angry at the Sun (1941)


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