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.
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
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 …
Entire and balanced when I was younger,
And could lift stones, and comprehend in the praises
the cruelties of life.
from The Women at Point Sur (1925-26)
from The Double Axe (1942-47)
Original Sin (PF)
from Last Poems (1953-62)