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

 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 History & Politics, Social Commentaries, War & Conflict

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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