Robinson Jeffers

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

Vulture - Poem by Robinson Jeffers

I had walked since dawn and lay down to rest on a bare hillside
Above the ocean. I saw through half-shut eyelids a vulture wheeling
high up in heaven,
And presently it passed again, but lower and nearer, its orbit
I understood then
That I was under inspection. I lay death-still and heard the flight-
Whistle above me and make their circle and come nearer.
I could see the naked red head between the great wings
Bear downward staring. I said, 'My dear bird, we are wasting time
These old bones will still work; they are not for you.' But how
he looked, gliding down
On those great sails; how beautiful he looked, veering away in the
over the precipice. I tell you solemnly
That I was sorry to have disappointed him. To be eaten by that beak
become part of him, to share those wings and those eyes--
What a sublime end of one's body, what an enskyment; what a life
after death.

Comments about Vulture by Robinson Jeffers

  • (9/15/2017 10:28:00 AM)

    Here's a good video reading of this poem: https: // (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Fabrizio Frosini (12/10/2015 7:50:00 AM)

    ''What a sublime end of one's body, ''

    well.. not the best, maybe.. ;)

    - In Italian: - ''Quale sublime fine per il proprio corpo, ''
    (Report) Reply

  • Fabrizio Frosini (12/10/2015 7:48:00 AM)

    A description about the cycles of nature... (Report) Reply

  • (6/26/2015 2:49:00 PM)

    The beauty of the circle of life is clear in these words. (Report) Reply

  • Kim Barney (12/1/2014 8:51:00 AM)

    Amazing. I was intrigued from the beginning, because I love to watch vultures flying, but then the abrupt thought of becoming part of one by being eaten, that just blew me away! (Report) Reply

  • Seamus O Brian (12/1/2014 8:25:00 AM)

    I had my doubts at the beginning, but the imagery pulled me in and nailed me. (Report) Reply

  • Aftab Alam Khursheed (12/1/2014 3:24:00 AM)

    So beautiful each word is measured rhythmical - That I was sorry to have disappointed him. To be eaten by that beak I am Alive and not dead (Report) Reply

  • (8/31/2014 12:42:00 AM)

    Incredibly good poem on a subject that one would not expect. The poet's vision transforms the reader's vision seamlessly. I wish I could see how the poem actually looks on a page; this would help me know how to read it orally. (Report) Reply

  • Savita Tyagi (12/1/2013 9:49:00 AM)

    Beautiful poem. When fear is not there beauty can be seen all around. Also a sense of oneness that goes beyond bodily existence. (Report) Reply

Read all 9 comments »

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Read poems about / on: beautiful, sorry, ocean, death, work, red, heaven, sea, light

Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

Poem Edited: Friday, July 7, 2006

[Report Error]