Poet: Robinson Jeffers
Dates: 10 January 1887 – 20 January 1962
Title of Poem: Birds
The fierce musical cries of a couple of sparrowhawks hunting
on the headland,
Hovering and darting, their heads northwestward,
Prick like silver arrows shot through a curtain the noise of the
Trampling its granite; their red backs gleam
Under my window around the stone corners; nothing gracefuller,
Nimbler in the wind. Westward the wave-gleaners,
The old gray sea-going gulls are gathered together, the northwest
Their wings to the wild spirals of the wind-dance.
Fresh as the air, salt as the foam, play birds in the bright wind,
Forgetting the oak and the pinewood, come gulls
From the Carmel sands and the sands at the river-mouth, from
Lobos and out of the limitless
Power of the mass of the sea, for a poem
Needs multitude, multitudes of thoughts, all fierce, all flesh-eaters,
Bright hawks that hover and dart headlong, and ungainly
Gray hungers fledged with desire of transgression, salt slimed
beaks, from the sharp
Rock-shores of the world and the secret waters.
Brief Biography: Jeffers was a poet and environmentalist. His poetry emphasises his preference for the natural world over the negative influences of civilization. Jeffers did not adhere to the concept that meter is a fundamental part of poetry believing it to be imposed by man and not natural poetry. He published epic poems of natural blank verse and was considered reminiscent of the classical Greek poets.