Robinson Jeffers (1887-1961)
The extraordinary patience of things!
This beautiful place defaced with a crop of suburban houses —
How beautiful when we first beheld it,
Unbroken field of poppy and lupin walled with clean cliffs;
No intrusion but two or three horses pasturing,
Or a few milch cows rubbing their flanks on the outcrop rockheads —
Now the spoiler has come: does it care?
Not faintly. It has all time. It knows the people are a tide
That swells and in time will ebb, and all
Their works dissolve. Meanwhile the image of the pristine beauty
Lives in the very grain of the granite,
Safe as the endless ocean that climbs our cliff. — As for us:
We must uncenter our minds from ourselves;
We must unhumanize our views a little, and become confident
As the rock and ocean that we were made from.
The beautiful cliffs that Jeffers remember do not care that they have been “defaced with… suburban houses”. But we, the people who love them, do care. We care deeply. Our great task, as our own places and all the Earth comes under increasing assault, is to keep within ourselves the remembrance of that beauty, which the rock itself holds “in the very grain of the granite.”
And we can also return to those places, get to know them as they are now, and make a simple gift of love and consolation for them
- Shea: Sandy Shea