Poetry

Although Jeffers occasionally published in literary journals, most of his poems appeared first in book-length collections. The dates for the poems presented on this website come from those appearances in books. Those interested in delving more deeply into the textual history of the poems should consult Volume 5 of The Collected Poetry of Robinson Jeffers, edited by Tim Hunt (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 2001), which includes detailed manuscript and publication history of every poem.

The following poems are organized chronologically by their first appearance in a book by Jeffers and are reproduced with permission of Stanford University Press on this RJA site or at PoetryFoundation.org (PF). Excerpts of prose writings by Jeffers also are available on this site.

Ante Mortem

It is likely enough that lions and scorpions
Guard the end; life never was bonded to be endurable nor
    the act of dying
Unpainful; the brain burning too often
Earns, though it held itself detached from the object,
    often a burnt age.
No matter, I shall not shorten it by hand.
Incapable of body or unmoved of brain is no evil, one always
    went envying
The quietness of stones. But if the striped blossom
Insanity spread lewd splendors and lightning terrors at the end
    of the forest;
Or intolerable pain work its known miracle,
Exile the monarch soul, set a sick monkey in the office …
    remember me
Entire and balanced when I was younger,
And could lift stones, and comprehend in the praises
    the cruelties of life.


Read more poems by Robinson Jeffers

from Tamar (1917-23)
Continent’s End
Divinely Superfluous Beauty
The Maid’s Thought
Natural Music
Shine, Perishing Republic
The Treasure (PF)
To the House (PF)
To the Stone-cutters

from Roan Stallion (1924-25)
Ante Mortem
Joy
Science

from The Women at Point Sur (1925-26)
Credo (PF)

from Cawdor (1926-28)
Bixby’s Landing (PF)
Hurt Hawks I and II
Tor House (PF)

from Dear Judas (1928-29)
Hands (PF)
Hooded Night (PF)
Inscription for a Gravestone (PF)

from Thurso’s Landing (1930-31)
November Surf
The Place for No Story (PF)

from Solstice (1933-35)
Gray Weather (PF)
Love the Wild Swan (PF)
Rock and Hawk (PF)
Shine, Republic (PF)

from Such Counsels You Gave to Me (1935-38)
The Answer (PF)
Night Without Sleep (PF)
Oh Lovely Rock (PF)

from Be Angry at the Sun (1938-41)
Be Angry at the Sun
The Bloody Sire (PF)
The Day is a Poem (PF)
For Una (PF)

from The Double Axe (1942-47)
Original Sin (PF)

from Hungerfield (1948-53)
The Beauty of Things (PF)
Carmel Point (PF)
The Deer Lay Down Their Bones (PF)

from Last Poems (1953-62)
Granddaughter (PF)