Robinson Jeffers, fully John Robinson Jeffers

Jeffers, fully John Robinson Jeffers

American Poet, Dramatist and Icon of the Environmental Movement

Author Quotes

You have perhaps heard some false reports on the subject of God. He is not dead; and he is not a fable. He is not mocked nor forgotten--Successfully. God is a lion that comes in the night. God is a hawk gliding among the stars--If all the stars and the earth, and the living flesh of the night that flows in between them, and whatever is beyond them were that one bird. He has a bloody beak and harsh talons, he pounces and tears--and where is the German Reich? There also will be prodigious America and world-owning China. I say that all hopes and empires will die like yours; mankind will die, there will be no more fools; wisdom will die; the very stars will die; one fierce life lasts.

You ask what I am for and what I am against in Spain. I would give my right hand of course to prevent the agony; I would not give a flick of my little finger to help either side win.

While this America settles in the mold of its vulgarity, heavily thickening to empire, I and protest, only a bubble in the molten mass, pops and sighs out, and the mass hardens, I sadly smiling remember that the flower fades to make fruit, the fruit rots to make earth. Out of the mother; and through the spring exultances, ripeness and decadence; and home to the mother. You making haste haste on decay: not blameworthy; life is good, be it stubbornly long or suddenly a mortal splendor: meteors are not needed less than mountains: shine, perishing republic. But for my children, I would have them keep their distance from the thickening center; corruption never has been compulsory, when the cities lie at the monster's feet there are left the mountains. And boys, be in nothing so moderate as in love of man, a clever servant, insufferable master. There is the trap that catches noblest spirits, that caught--they say-- God, when he walked on earth.

Why, even in humanity beauty and good show, from the mountainside of solitude.

You are so beautiful. Even this side the stars and below the moon. How can you be...all this...and me also? ...Yet two or three times in my life my walls have fallen--beyond love--no room for love-- I have been you.

When the sun shouts and people abound one thinks there were the ages of stone and the age of bronze and the Iron Age; iron the unstable metal; steel made of iron, unstable as his mother; the towered-up cities will be stains of rust on mounds of plaster. Roots will not pierce the heaps for a time, kind rains will cure them, then nothing will remain of the iron age and all these people but a thigh-bone or so, a poem stuck in the world's thought, splinters of glass in the rubbish dumps, a concrete dam far off in the mountain...

Where the surf has come incredible ways out of the splendid west, over the deeps light nor life sounds forever; here where enormous sundowns flower and burn through color to quietness.

Which failure cannot cast down nor success make proud.

Unhappy, eagle wings and bleak, chicken brain.

Unmeasured power, incredible passion, enormous craft: no thought apparent but burns darkly smothered with its own smoke in the human brain-vault: no thought outside; a certain measure in phenomena: the fountains of the boiling stars, the flowers on the foreland, the ever-returning roses of dawn.

We are easy to manage, a gregarious people,

We that have the honor and hardship of being human are one flesh with the beasts, and the beasts with the plants. It is all truly one life, red blood and tree-sap, animal, mineral, sidereal, one stream, one organism, one God.

What are we, the beast that walks upright, with speaking lips and little hair, to think we should always be fed, sheltered, intact, and self-controlled?

When I first went to Occidental College... there was a literary magazine...called the Aurora, and I remember thinking it odd that Occidental ? the west, the setting sun ? should be represented by a magazine called Aurora, the dawn. At least it gave us a wide range, the whole daylight sky.

Truly men hate the truth; they'd liefer meet a tiger on the road. Therefore the poets honey their truth with lying; but religion- Vendors and political men pour from the barrel, new lies on the old.

Turn outward, love things, not men, turn right away from humanity. Let that doll lie. Consider if you like how the lilies grow, lean on the silent rock until you feel its divinity make your veins cold, look at the silent stars, let your eyes climb the great ladder out of the pit of yourself and man. Things are so beautiful, your love will follow your eyes; things are the God, you will love God, and not in vain, for what we love, we grow to it, we share its nature.

Unhappy country what wings you have.

This coast crying out for tragedy like all beautiful places.

This wild swan of a world is no hunter's game. Better bullets than yours would miss the white breast better mirrors than yours would crack in the flame. Does it matter whether you hate yourself? At least Love your eyes that can see, your mind that can hear the music, the thunder of the wings. Love the wild swan.

To keep one's own integrity, be merciful and uncorrupted and not wish for evil; and not be duped by dreams of universal justice or happiness. These dreams will not be fulfilled.

To the end of this age. Oh, a thousand years will hardly leach, he thought, this dust of that fire.

Tonight, dear, let?s forget all that, that and the war, and enisle ourselves a little beyond time, you with this Irish whiskey, I with red wine, while the stars go over the sleepless ocean, and sometime after midnight I?ll pluck you a wreath of chosen ones; we?ll talk about love and death, rock-solid themes, old and deep as the sea. Admit nothing more timely, nothing less real. While the stars go over the timeless ocean, and when they vanish we?ll have spent the night well.

There is no reason for amazement: surely one always knew that cultures decay, and life's end is death.

There is the great humaneness at the heart of things the extravagant kindness, the fountain humanity can understand.

There is this infinite energy, the power of God, forever working--toward what purpose?

Author Picture
First Name
Last Name
Jeffers, fully John Robinson Jeffers
Birth Date
Death Date

American Poet, Dramatist and Icon of the Environmental Movement