Meditation On Saviors

I
When I considered it too closely, when I wore it like an element
  and smelt it like water,
Life is become less lovely, the net nearer than the skin, a
  little troublesome, a little terrible.

I pledged myself awhile ago not to seek refuge, neither in death
  nor in a walled garden,
In lies nor gated loyalties, nor in the gates of contempt, that
  easily lock the world out of doors.

Here on the rock it is great and beautiful, here on the foam-wet
  granite sea-fang it is easy to praise
Life and water and the shining stones: but whose cattle are the
  herds of the people that one should love them?

If they were yours, then you might take a cattle-breeder's
  delight in the herds of the future. Not yours.
Where the power ends let love, before it sours to jealousy.
  Leave the joys of government to Caesar.

Who is born when the world wanes, when the brave soul of the
  world falls on decay in the flesh increasing
Comes one with a great level mind, sufficient vision, sufficient
  blindness, and clemency for love.

This is the breath of rottenness I smelt; from the world
  waiting, stalled between storms, decaying a little,
Bitterly afraid to be hurt, but knowing it cannot draw the
  savior Caesar but out of the blood-bath.

The apes of Christ lift up their hands to praise love: but
  wisdom without love is the present savior,
Power without hatred, mind like a many-bladed machine subduing
  the world with deep indifference.
 
The apes of Christ itch for a sickness they have never known;
  words and the little envies will hardly
Measure against that blinding fire behind the tragic eyes they
  have never dared to confront.

II
Point Lobos lies over the hollowed water like a humped whale
  swimming to shoal; Point Lobos
Was wounded with that fire; the hills at Point Sur endured it;
  the palace at Thebes; the hill Calvary.
 
Out of incestuous love power and then ruin. A man forcing the
  imaginations of men,
Possessing with love and power the people: a man defiling his
  own household with impious desire.

King Oedipus reeling blinded from the palace doorway, red tears
  pouring from the torn pits
Under the forehead; and the young Jew writhing on the domed hill
  in the earthquake, against the eclipse

Frightfully uplifted for having turned inward to love the
  people: -that root was so sweet O dreadful agonist? -
I saw the same pierced feet, that walked in the same crime to
  its expiation; I heard the same cry.

A bad mountain to build your world on. Am I another keeper of
  the people, that on my own shore,
On the gray rock, by the grooved mass of the ocean, the
  sicknesses I left behind me concern me?

Here where the surf has come incredible ways out of the splendid
  west, over the deeps
Light nor life sounds forever; here where enormous sundowns
  flower and burn through color to quietness;

Then the ecstasy of the stars is present? As for the people, I
  have found my rock, let them find theirs.
Let them lie down at Caesar's feet and be saved; and he in his
  time reap their daggers of gratitude.

III
Yet I am the one made pledges against the refuge contempt, that
  easily locks the world out of doors.
This people as much as the sea-granite is part of the God from
  whom I desire not to be fugitive.

I see them: they are always crying. The shored Pacific makes
  perpetual music, and the stone mountains
Their music of silence, the stars blow long pipings of light:
  the people are always crying in their hearts.

One need not pity; certainly one must not love. But who has seen
  peace, if he should tell them where peace
Lives in the world...they would be powerless to understand; and
  he is not willing to be reinvolved.

IV
How should one caught in the stone of his own person dare tell
  the people anything but relative to that?
But if a man could hold in his mind all the conditions at once,
  of man and woman, of civilized

And barbarous, of sick and well, of happy and under torture, of
  living and dead, of human and not
Human, and dimly all the human future: -what should persuade him
  to speak? And what could his words change?

The mountain ahead of the world is not forming but fixed. But
  the man's words would be fixed also,
Part o
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Robinson Jeffers

John Robinson Jeffers was an American poet, known for his work about the central California coast. more…

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