Robinson Jeffers

(10 January 1887 – 20 January 1962 / Allegheny, Pennsylvania)

Inscription For A Gravestone - Poem by Robinson Jeffers

I am not dead, I have only become inhuman:
That is to say,
Undressed myself of laughable prides and infirmities,
But not as a man
Undresses to creep into bed, but like an athlete
Stripping for the race.
The delicate ravel of nerves that made me a measurer
Of certain fictions
Called good and evil; that made me contract with pain
And expand with pleasure;
Fussily adjusted like a little electroscope:
That's gone, it is true;
(I never miss it; if the universe does,
How easily replaced!)
But all the rest is heightened, widened, set free.
I admired the beauty
While I was human, now I am part of the beauty.
I wander in the air,
Being mostly gas and water, and flow in the ocean;
Touch you and Asia
At the same moment; have a hand in the sunrises
And the glow of this grass.
I left the light precipitate of ashes to earth
For a love-token.


Comments about Inscription For A Gravestone by Robinson Jeffers

  • (2/13/2019 4:23:00 PM)


    What I like about Jeffers the man is that he marched to his own drummer. Asked to join some organozation back in 1936, he wrote, “It seems quite useless for writers cannot be organized—except newspaper or film writers—and ought to associate with any or all classes in the community rather than with one another; and if they wish to express opinions they can write them. And I do not think that culture can be maintained or handed down through conventions and committees.” Amen to that, Mr. Jeffers. (Report) Reply

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  • (8/13/2018 6:50:00 AM)


    I recited this when we committed my husband's ashes to the sea. (Report) Reply

  • (6/6/2018 1:22:00 PM)


    Probably my favorite poem; certainly the one most shared. (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Monday, April 12, 2010



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