cracked and twilight mirrors...

from my anthology of must read (a)merican poems

Robinson Jeffers

Love the Wild Swan

“I hate my verses, every line, every word.
Oh pale and brittle pencils ever to try
One grass-blade's curve, or the throat of one bird
That clings to twig, ruffled against white sky.
Oh cracked and twilight mirrors ever to catch
One color, one glinting
Hash, of the splendor of things.
Unlucky hunter, Oh bullets of wax,
The lion beauty, the wild-swan wings, the storm of the wings.”
–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 your … self?
At least Love your eyes that can see, your mind that can
Hear the music, the thunder of the wings. Love the wild swan.


A beautiful piece that reflects the deep look and sound of language – pencils & twigsgrass blades & wingsbullets, mirrors & eyes – urging the reader to explore the wilderness of self – to explore, knowing the search will never find its rest.

Jeffers, a meticulous artist with words, strikes out to declare the object of imagination, but he does this with the full understanding that he can never say the unsayable.

The object of the poem is always greater than the poem.


JforJames said...

I like what you've said about this Jeffers poem. He's an important poet for me. You last sentence about the object being greater than its effigy the poem, rings true.

sam of the ten thousand things said...

Thanks for the read and comment J.