by Robinson Jeffers


Mountains, a moment's Earth-waves rising and hollowing; the

          earth too's an emphemerid; the stars -

Short-lived as grass the stars quicken in the nebula and dry in

          their summer, they spiral

Blind up space, scattered black seeds of a future; nothing

          lives long; the whole sky's

Recurrences tick the seconds of the hours of the ages of the gulf

          before birth, and the gulf

After death is like dated: to labor eighty years in a notch of

          eternity is nothing too tiresome,

Enormous repose after, enormous repose before, the flash of


Surely you never have dreamed the incredible depths were prologue

          and epilogue merely

To the surface play in the sun, the instant of life, what is

          called life? I fancy

THAT silence is the thing, this noise a found word for it; inter

          jection, a jump of the breath at that silence;

Stars burn, grass grows, men breathe: as a man finding treasure

          says "Ah!" but the tresure's the essence;

Before the man spoke it was there, and after he has spoken he

          gathers it, inexhaustible treasure.


Robinson Jeffers, Tamar, 1920-23 Collected Poetry Vol 1 p 102

Stanford University Press 1988