Piece Four

LA at NightI have included two more poems composed by Robinson Jeffers below as I couldn’t decide which one I liked better.  Besides, the two pieces fit well together.  He has had a big influence on me…in that he confirmed my intuition and expressed himself, of course, with more eloquence, wisdom and force.  I have begun writing my journal-like entries, that by their very nature reveal the positive aspect of critical thinking.   I will begin to post after Piece 5 and as various sections are completed.  I don’t know where these journal-like entries will take me or this blog…perhaps somewhere else…or perhaps in a circular loop.  My hope is that it takes the form of the former…rather than the later.

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The Purse-Seine

Our sardine fishermen work at night in the dark
of the moon; daylight or moonlight
They could not tell where to spread the net, 
unable to see the phosphorescence of the 
shoals of fish.
They work northward from Monterey, coasting 
Santa Cruz; off New Year’s Point or off 
Pigeon Point
The look-out man will see some lakes of milk-color 
light on the sea’s night-purple; he points, 
and the helmsman
Turns the dark prow, the motorboat circles the 
gleaming shoal and drifts out her seine-net. 
They close the circle
And purse the bottom of the net, then with great 
labor haul it in.

I cannot tell you
How beautiful the scene is, and a little terrible, 
then, when the crowded fish
Know they are caught, and wildly beat from one wall 
to the other of their closing destiny the 
phosphorescent
Water to a pool of flame, each beautiful slender body 
sheeted with flame, like a live rocket
A comet’s tail wake of clear yellow flame; while outside 
the narrowing
Floats and cordage of the net great sea-lions come up 
to watch, sighing in the dark; the vast walls 
of night
Stand erect to the stars.

Lately I was looking from a night mountain-top
On a wide city, the colored splendor, galaxies of light: 
how could I help but recall the seine-net
Gathering the luminous fish? I cannot tell you how 
beautiful the city appeared, and a little terrible.
I thought, We have geared the machines and locked all together 
into inter-dependence; we have built the great cities; now
There is no escape. We have gathered vast populations incapable 
of free survival, insulated
From the strong earth, each person in himself helpless, on all 
dependent. The circle is closed, and the net
Is being hauled in. They hardly feel the cords drawing, yet 
they shine already. The inevitable mass-disasters
Will not come in our time nor in our children’s, but we 
and our children
Must watch the net draw narrower, government take all 
powers–or revolution, and the new government
Take more than all, add to kept bodies kept souls–or anarchy, 
the mass-disasters.
These things are Progress;
Do you marvel our verse is troubled or frowning, while it keeps 
its reason? Or it lets go, lets the mood flow
In the manner of the recent young men into mere hysteria, 
splintered gleams, crackled laughter. But they are 
quite wrong.
There is no reason for amazement: surely one always knew 
that cultures decay, and life’s end is death. 

Hooded Night

At night, toward dawn, all the lights of the shore have died,
And a wind moves. Moves in the dark
The sleeping power of the ocean, no more beastlike than manlike,
Not to be compared; itself and itself.
Its breath blown shoreward huddles the world with a fog; no stars
Dance in heaven; no ship’s light glances.
I see the heavy granite bodies of the rocks of the headland,
That were ancient here before Egypt had pyramids,
Bulk on the gray of the sky, and beyond them the jets of young trees
I planted the year of the Versailles peace.
But here is the final unridiculous peace. Before the first man
Here were the stones, the ocean, the cypresses,
And the pallid region in the stone-rough dome of fog where the moon
Falls on the west. Here is reality.
The other is a spectral episode; after the inquisitive animal’s
Amusements are quiet: the dark glory.
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