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.
The Maid's Thought
Why listen, even the water is sobbing for something.
The west wind is dead, the waves
Forget to hate the cliff, in the upland canyons
Whole hillsides burst aglow
With golden broom. Dear how it rained last month,
And every pool was rimmed
With sulphury pollen dust of the wakening pines.
Now tall and slender suddenly
The stalks of purple iris blaze by the brooks,
The pencilled ones on the hill;
This deerweed shivers with gold, the white globe-tulips
Blow out their silky bubbles,
But in the next glen bronze-bells nod, the does
Scalded by some hot longing
Can hardly set their pointed hoofs to expect
Love but they crush a flower;
Shells pair on the rock, birds mate, the moths fly double.
O it is time for us now
Mouth kindling mouth to entangle our maiden bodies
To make that burning flower.
from The Women at Point Sur (1925-26)
from The Double Axe (1942-47)
Original Sin (PF)
from Last Poems (1953-62)