Poetry, VOLUME 5

Poem: “The Homely Labors” – Robinson Jeffers

“The Homely Labors”
Robinson Jeffers

From his 1916 Collection Californians –
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Not merely falcon passions and the sweep
And sealike power of love;
Nor yet alone the dreams that dive hell deep
Or fly to heaven above;
Nor yet the sense ineffable that springs
When vast and purified,
On wine red ocean with enormous wings
Of cloud fiery and wide,
The day departeth as the Phoenix did
Through death to dawn returning,
Consumed and incorruptible and hid
In its own glory and burning;
Nor yet the spiritual agony of light
Innumerous icy clear,
When gapes a chasm of cloud at dead of night
And infinite stars appear; —
Not these alone although no poet’s endeavor
Can praise them well enough,
Make splendid our seclusion but forever
I shall be mindful of
The small and daily tasks the laying of fire,
The cleaving of fire wood,
And how much beauty and how sweet desire
And wisdom these include.


C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com

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