Robinson Jeffers

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

Thebaid - Poem by Robinson Jeffers

How many turn back toward dreams and magic, how many
Run home to Mother Church, Father State,
To find in their arms the delicious warmth and folding of souls.
The age weakens and settles home toward old ways.
An age of renascent faith: Christ said, Marx wrote, Hitler says,
And though it seems absurd we believe.
Sad children, yes. It is lonely to be adult, you need a father.
With a little practice you'll believe anything.

Faith returns, beautiful, terrible, ridiculous,
And men are willing to die and kill for their faith.
Soon come the wars of religion; centuries have passed
Since the air so trembled with intense faith and hatred.
Soon, perhaps, whoever wants to live harmlessly
Must find a cave in the mountain or build a cell
Of the red desert rock under dry junipers,
And avoid men, live with more kindly wolves
And luckier ravens, waiting for the end of the age.

Hermit from stone cell
Gazing with great stunned eyes,
What extravagant miracle
Has amazed them with light,
What visions, what crazy glory, what wings?
I see the sun set and rise
And the beautiful desert sand
And the stars at night,
The incredible magnificence of things.
I the last living man
That sees the real earth and skies,
Actual life and real death.
The others are all prophets and believers
Delirious with fevers of faith.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, April 12, 2010

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