Robinson Jeffers

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

The Beaks Of Eagles - Poem by Robinson Jeffers

An eagle's nest on the head of an old redwood on one of the
precipice-footed ridges
Above Ventana Creek, that jagged country which nothing but a
falling meteor will ever plow; no horseman
Will ever ride there, no hunter cross this ridge but the winged
ones, no one will steal the eggs from this fortress.
The she-eagle is old, her mate was shot long ago, she is now mated
with a son of hers.
When lightning blasted her nest she built it again on the same
tree, in the splinters of the thunderbolt.
The she-eagle is older than I; she was here when the fires of
eighty-five raged on these ridges,
She was lately fledged and dared not hunt ahead of them but ate
scorched meat. The world has changed in her time;
Humanity has multiplied, but not here; men's hopes and thoughts
and customs have changed, their powers are enlarged,
Their powers and their follies have become fantastic,
The unstable animal never has been changed so rapidly. The
motor and the plane and the great war have gone over him,
And Lenin has lived and Jehovah died: while the mother-eagle
Hunts her same hills, crying the same beautiful and lonely cry and
is never tired; dreams the same dreams,
And hears at night the rock-slides rattle and thunder in the throats
of these living mountains.
It is good for man
To try all changes, progress and corruption, powers, peace and
anguish, not to go down the dinosaur's way
Until all his capacities have been explored: and it is good for him
To know that his needs and nature are no more changed in fact
in ten thousand years than the beaks of eagles.


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Poem Submitted: Monday, April 12, 2010



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