The Treasure

By Robinson Jeffers 1887–1962 Robinson Jeffers
Mountains, a moment’s earth-waves rising and hollowing; the earth too’s an ephemerid; the stars—
Short-lived as grass the stars quicken in the nebula and dry in their summer, they spiral
Blind up space, scattered black seeds of a future; nothing lives long, the whole sky’s
Recurrences tick the seconds of the hours of the ages of the gulf before birth, and the gulf
After death is like dated: to labor eighty years in a notch of eternity is nothing too tiresome,
Enormous repose after, enormous repose before, the flash of activity.
Surely you never have dreamed the incredible depths were prologue and epilogue merely
To the surface play in the sun, the instant of life, what is called life? I fancy
That silence is the thing, this noise a found word for it; interjection, a jump of the breath at that silence;
Stars burn, grass grows, men breathe: as a man finding treasure says “Ah!” but the treasure’s the essence:
Before the man spoke it was there, and after he has spoken he gathers it, inexhaustible treasure.

Robinson Jeffers, "The Treasure" from The Collected Poetry of Robinson Jeffers, edited by Tim Hunt.  Copyright © 1938 by Robinson Jeffers, renewed 1966 and ©  Jeffers Literary Properties.  With the permission of Stanford University Press, www.sup.org.

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 Time & Brevity, Nature, Living, Religion, The Spiritual

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Robinson  Jeffers

Biography

Robinson Jeffers was born in 1887 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The son of Presbyterian minister and Biblical scholar, Dr. William Hamilton Jeffers, as a boy Jeffers was thoroughly trained in the Bible and classical languages. The Jeffers family frequently traveled to Europe, and Robinson attended boarding schools in Germany and Switzerland. In 1902, Jeffers enrolled in Western University of Pennsylvania; when his family moved to . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Time & Brevity, Nature, Living, Religion, The Spiritual

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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