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Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Robinson Jeffers: Autumn Evening


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Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias), Seabeck Landing, Bainbridge Island, Washington: photo by Alan D. Wilson, 2009




Though the little clouds ran southward still, the quiet autumnal
Cool of the late September evening
Seemed promising rain, rain, the change of the year, the angel
Of the sad forest. A heron flew over
With that remote ridiculous cry, "Quawk," the cry
That seems to make silence more silent. A dozen
Flops of the wing, a drooping glide, at the end of the glide
The cry, and a dozen flops of the wing.
I watched him pass on the autumn-colored sky; beyond him
Jupiter shone for evening star.
The sea's voice worked into my mood, I thought "No matter
What happens to men . . . the world's well made though."




Robinson Jeffers: Autumn Evening, September 1924, from Roan Stallion, 1925




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Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias), Rockport Beach Park, Rockport, Texas: photo by Alan D. Wilson, 1 September 2006

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Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias), Santee Lakes Recreational Preserve, Near San Diego, California: photo by Alan D. Wilson, 2007

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Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias), Seabeck Landing, Bainbridge Island, Washington: photo by Alan D. Wilson, 2009

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Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias), Seabeck Landing, Bainbridge Island, Washington: photo by Alan D. Wilson, 2009



Great Blue Heron (Ardea Herodias), Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, Finger Lakes, New York: photo by Golden Bear Retriever, 27 March 2010



Great Blue Heron (Ardea Herodias), Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, Finger Lakes, New York: photo by Golden Bear Retriever, 27 March 2010

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Great Blue Heron (Ardea Herodias), east of Duck Lake, Carty Unit, Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge: photo by Walter Siegmund, 6 May 2006

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Great Blue Heron (Ardea Herodias), east of Duck Lake, Carty Unit, Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge: photo by Walter Siegmund, 6 May 2006

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Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias), Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge: photo by Walter Siegmund, 6 April 2006

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Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias), Cap Tourmente National Wildlife Area, Quebec
: photo by Cephas, 19 July 2009

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Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias), Cap Tourmente National Wildlife Area, Quebec
: photo by Cephas, 19 July 2009


Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) and Great Egret (Casmerodius albus), Morro Bay Estuary, Morro Bay, Calfornia: photo by Mike Baird, 18 May 2007


Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias), Morro Bay, Calfornia: photo by Mike Baird, 4 March 2005


Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias), Half Moon Bay, California: photo by Steve Jurvetson, 3 August 2006


Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias), 1.8 m wingspan, lifting off, near the entrance to Foothils Park, Menlo Park, California: photo by Steve Jurvetson, 21 February 2005


Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias), flying with nesting material, Illinois: photo by PhotoBobil, 9 March 2012

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Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias), feeding chicks in nest, San Francisco, California: photo by Brocken Inaglory, 30 April 2008

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Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias), Fort Pierce, St. Lucie County, Florida: photo by Hans Hillewaert, 4 May 2011

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Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias), jetty, Fort Pierce, St. Lucie County, Florida: photo by Hans Hillewaert, 4 May 2011

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Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias), north of Sanibel Island, Lee County, Florida: photo by Hans Hillewaert, 12 May 2011

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Great blue heron (Ardea herodias), on the beach of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
: photo by Dave Pape, 13 March 2008


Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias), Great Woods, Concord, Massachusetts: photo by Muffet (Liz West), 17 September 2011


Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias), perching in a tree, Homossassa Springs State Park, Homossassa, Florida: photo by Riverbank Outdoor Store (B A Bowen), 20 December 2009

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Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias), Hillsborough River, Tampa, Florida: photo by Biswamberpal, 30 May 2009



Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias), South El Monte, California: photo by John Liu, 14 June 2011

12 comments:

Hazen said...

" . . . the cry that seems to make silence more silent."
How well observed.

Jeffers' take on the world is always welcome, especially on this autumnal morning in late summer, that lacks only a great blue heron. Top 'a tha mornin' to ya Thomas.

Sandra said...

wonderful Tom...I think I can hear that "Quack"!!

TC said...

Many thanks, Hazen and Sandra, and good morning (chilly, foggy, getting toward autumnal here) to both of you, too.

The ever watchful Great Blue Heron is pleased to see you... though perhaps its pleasure might be even greater were you... oh, say, some tender little shrimp.

This stately and majestic wading bird, the largest of the North American herons, is still seen commonly along the shorelines of ocean and bay, standing sentinel at all hours of the day, patiently watching the marsh edge for little edible swimming things.

It was once even more populous in the wetlands of the river valleys and basins of the interior. But the small towns and small farms and open spaces of the Central Valley have now long since given way to big ag, and in the Delta Country where the Great Blue Heron once stood vigilant guard in vast legions, now it's just the whoosh-whoosh-whoosh of traffic on the long featureless stretch of freeway between Sacramento and the most over-rated medium-sized city in the world.

By the by, a few pieces posted here previously:

Robinson Jeffers: Evening Ebb

Robinson Jeffers: Rock and Hawk

Robinson Jeffers: Self-Criticism in February

Robinson Jeffers: The Great Explosion

Wooden Boy said...

There are many herons on the canals near us, some right at the centre of the city. Sometimes they seem to be the source of that "more than" silence.

They're strange, prehistoric beasts altogether. I always have a sense of time stopped when I see them.

Susan Kay Anderson said...

Jupiter, well, everything is alright then. Great Blue Heron alphabet spells water, tree, and air. "...the angel/Of the sad forest..."

So beautiful. The dinosaur of the dull future.

Susan Kay Anderson said...

When to stop staring

grey blue nervousness

going alone
towards the trees
away from Nonpareil
to Plat I Reservoir
snags leftover
from the flooding

flying suitcase
unpack well-planned
or there beside the Umpqua
the Willamette
near a quiet riffle
almost did not notice
the grey blue shadow
still as sticks
in the sticks

Jonathan Chant said...

Strangely, I was trying, last night, to describe the silence that a barn owl brought to a snowy track. Robinson Jeffers has shown me how to do it.

Great post.

Sandra said...


I hope you like this...:


A pesar que las pequeñas nubes viajaban hacia el sur quietas, la tranquila
frescura otoñal del postrero atardecer de Septiembre
parecía prometer lluvia, lluvia, la transformación del año, el ángel
del triste bosque. Un herón pasó volando
con ese lejano y ridículo grito, “Cuak”, el grito
que hace parecer al silencio más callado. Una docena
de aletazos, un cansado planeo, al final del planeo,
el grito, y una docena de aletazos.
Lo observé pasar por el cielo de color de otoño; más allá
Jupiter brillaba por la estrella del atardecer.
La voz del mar influía en mi visión, Pensé “No importa
lo que suceda a los hombres…el mundo aún está bien hecho”

STEPHEN RATCLIFFE said...

Tom,

"a drooping glide, at the end of the glide. . ." as in that Great Blue Heron (Ardea Herodias), east of Duck Lake --- "Oh how that [gliding] taketh me. . ."

8.21

grey whiteness of fog against invisible
plane of ridge, green of cypress branch
in foreground, sound of wave in channel

is attached to within going
along, straight ahead

pointing to what will be it,
second line, has past

blue white sky above sunlit brick wall,
bird slanting toward building on right

Sandra said...

o..."la voz del mar influyó en mí, y pensé , " (no sé si se pueden omitir palabras para afinar la idea )

larry white said...

Such photography allows us to see grey dinosaurs of the dull future in a way only surpassed by Jeffers and his kind. My first such sighting was with my son in 1977 on the Platte River on a turnoff to Fort Kearny, much as Susan words it, "almost did not notice". We are blessed with their abundance hereabouts, and those smaller even more elusive brown-and-emerald-shaded Green herons.

Summer heat remains pretty steady here days, vultures providing some shade, walnut leaves falling in yellow showers with every gust. To a spray of late-summer flowers:

strings of lights on wire
stems stretch the summer sundown
-- sanicle flowers

TC said...

The patient waiting, the tentative, careful step-by-step stick-walking in the shallows, the delicate noticing, the vigilant picking-up-on small things, and the great ungainly liftoff that turns into such majestic broadwing'd soaring -- by watching we learn to make out these skills in herons that tell us also what a poem might be, were it half so good at doing what it was meant to do, as they are at their own particularly splendid natural offices.