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Robinson Jeffers: early proponent of the environmental movement

His poetry dealt largely with the natural world

Self-Criticism in February

The bay is not blue but sombre yellow

With wrack from the battered valley, it is speckled with violent foam-heads 

And tiger-striped with long lovely storm-shadow.

You love this better than the other mask; better eyes than yours 

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Would feel the equal beauty in the blue. 

It is certain you have loved the beauty of storm disproportionately. 

But the present time is not pastoral, but founded 

On violence, pointed for more massive violence: perhaps it is not 

Perversity but need that perceives the storm-beauty. 

Well, bite on this: your poems are too full of ghosts and demons, 

And people like phantoms how often life’s are 

And passion so strained that the clay mouths go praying for destruction 

Alas, it is not unusual in life; 

To every soul at some time. But why insist on it? And now 

For the worst fault: you have never mistaken 

Demon nor passion nor idealism for the real God. 

Then what is most disliked in those verses 

Remains most true. Unfortunately. If only you could sing 

That God is love, or perhaps that social 

Justice will soon prevail. I can tell lies in prose.

Robinson Jeffers

Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962) was an American poet renowned for his celebration in verse of the central California coast. While most of his poetry was written in the epic and narrative modes, he also wrote a number of shorter poems. Many consider him an early proponent of the environmental movement as his poetry dealt largely with the natural world and a concern for its conservation. His poetry was informed by a focus on “inhumanism,” a belief that human concerns ought to be considered only in the larger context of the universe – which included the natural world and the needs and concerns of nature. He lived his life as he wrote his poetry – involved intimately with the outdoors and nature, he spent most of his life in the remote regions of Carmel, where he built his famous Tor House, a house built of rock atop one of the Carmel coastline’s “tors” — craggy outcrops of rock — from which the house took its name.

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Self-Criticism in February

The bay is not blue but sombre yellow

With wrack from the battered valley, it is speckled with violent foam-heads 

And tiger-striped with long lovely storm-shadow.

You love this better than the other mask; better eyes than yours 

Sponsored
Sponsored

Would feel the equal beauty in the blue. 

It is certain you have loved the beauty of storm disproportionately. 

But the present time is not pastoral, but founded 

On violence, pointed for more massive violence: perhaps it is not 

Perversity but need that perceives the storm-beauty. 

Well, bite on this: your poems are too full of ghosts and demons, 

And people like phantoms how often life’s are 

And passion so strained that the clay mouths go praying for destruction 

Alas, it is not unusual in life; 

To every soul at some time. But why insist on it? And now 

For the worst fault: you have never mistaken 

Demon nor passion nor idealism for the real God. 

Then what is most disliked in those verses 

Remains most true. Unfortunately. If only you could sing 

That God is love, or perhaps that social 

Justice will soon prevail. I can tell lies in prose.

Robinson Jeffers

Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962) was an American poet renowned for his celebration in verse of the central California coast. While most of his poetry was written in the epic and narrative modes, he also wrote a number of shorter poems. Many consider him an early proponent of the environmental movement as his poetry dealt largely with the natural world and a concern for its conservation. His poetry was informed by a focus on “inhumanism,” a belief that human concerns ought to be considered only in the larger context of the universe – which included the natural world and the needs and concerns of nature. He lived his life as he wrote his poetry – involved intimately with the outdoors and nature, he spent most of his life in the remote regions of Carmel, where he built his famous Tor House, a house built of rock atop one of the Carmel coastline’s “tors” — craggy outcrops of rock — from which the house took its name.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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