Storm clouds, San Francisco, California: photo by franklin_hunting, 26 February 2011
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-shadows.
You love this better than the other mask; better eyes than yours
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.
Thunderstorm clouds, asperatus formation, California: photo by damajaco, 6 March 2011
Robinson Jeffers: Self-Criticism in February, from Such Counsels You Gave To Me, 1937