The Coast-Road Poem by Robinson Jeffers

The Coast-Road

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A horseman high alone as an eagle on the spur of the mountain
over Mirmas Canyon draws rein, looks down
At the bridge-builders, men, trucks, the power-shovels, the teeming
end of the new coast-road at the mountain's base.
He sees the loops of the road go northward, headland beyond
headland, into gray mist over Eraser's Point,
He shakes his fist and makes the gesture of wringing a chicken's
neck, scowls and rides higher.

I too
Believe that the life of men who ride horses, herders of cattle on
the mountain pasture, plowers of remote
Rock-narrowed farms in poverty and freedom, is a good life. At
the far end of those loops of road
Is what will come and destroy it, a rich and vulgar and bewildered
civilization dying at the core,
A world that is feverishly preparing new wars, peculiarly vicious
ones, and heavier tyrannies, a strangely
Missionary world, road-builder, wind-rider, educator, printer and
picture-maker and broadcaster,
So eager, like an old drunken whore, pathetically eager to impose
the seduction of her fled charms
On all that through ignorance or isolation might have escaped
them. I hope the weathered horseman up yonder
Will die before he knows what this eager world will do to his
children. More tough-minded men
Can repulse an old whore, or cynically accept her drunken kindnesses
for what they are worth,
But the innocent and credulous are soon corrupted.

Where is our
consolation? Beautiful beyond belief
The heights glimmer in the sliding cloud, the great bronze gorge-cut
sides of the mountain tower up invincibly,
Not the least hurt by this ribbon of road carved on their sea-foot.

Robinson Jeffers

Robinson Jeffers

Allegheny, Pennsylvania
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