The Day is a Poem

By Robinson Jeffers 1887–1962 Robinson Jeffers

(September 19, 1939)

This morning Hitler spoke in Danzig, we heard his voice.
A man of genius: that is, of amazing
Ability, courage, devotion, cored on a sick child’s soul,
Heard clearly through the dog-wrath, a sick child
Wailing in Danzig; invoking destruction and wailing at it.
Here, the day was extremely hot; about noon
A south wind like a blast from hell’s mouth spilled a slight rain
On the parched land, and at five a light earthquake   
Danced the house, no harm done. To-night I have been amusing myself
Watching the blood-red moon droop slowly   
Into black sea through bursts of dry lightning and distant thunder.
Well: the day is a poem: but too much
Like one of Jeffers’s, crusted with blood and barbaric omens,
Painful to excess, inhuman as a hawk’s cry.

Robinson Jeffers, “The Day Is a Poem” from The Collected Poetry of Robinson Jeffers (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 1988).© 1938, Robinson Jeffers, renewed 1966 and copyright © Jeffers Literary Properties. Used by permission Stanford University Press.

Source: The Collected Poetry of Robinson Jeffers (Stanford University Press, 1988)

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Poet Robinson Jeffers 1887–1962

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Subjects History & Politics, Social Commentaries, War & Conflict