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JEFFERS, Robinson


Vulture

I had walked since dawn and lay down to rest on a bare hillside

Above the ocean. I saw through half-shut eyelids a vulture wheeling

high up in heaven,

And presently it passed again, but lower and nearer, its orbit

narrowing,

I understood then

That I was under inspection. I lay death-still and heard the flight-

feathers

Whistle above me and make their circle and come nearer.

I could see the naked red head between the great wings

Bear downward staring. I said, 'My dear bird, we are wasting time

here.

These old bones will still work; they are not for you.' But how

beautiful

he looked, gliding down

On those great sails; how beautiful he looked, veering away in the

sea-light

over the precipice. I tell you solemnly

That I was sorry to have disappointed him. To be eaten by that beak

and

become part of him, to share those wings and those eyes--

What a sublime end of one's body, what an enskyment; what a life

after death.


The Beginning and the End
…..
What is this thing called life? I believe

That the earth and the stars too, and the whole glittering universe, and rocks on the mountains have life,

Only we do not call it so--I speak of the life

That oxidizes fats and proteins and carbo-

Hydrates to live on, and from that chemical energy

Makes pleasure and pain, wonder, love, adoration, hatred and terror: how do these things grow

From a chemical reaction?

I think they were here already, I think the rocks

And the earth and the other planets, and the stars and the galaxies

have their various consciousness, all things are conscious;

But the nerves of an animal, the nerves and brain

Bring it to focus; the nerves and brain are like a burning-glass
To concentrate the heat and make it catch fire:

It seems to us martyrs hotter than the blazing hearth

From which it came. So we scream and laugh, clamorous animals

Born howling to die groaning: the old stones in the dooryard

Prefer silence; but those and all things have their own awareness,

As the cells of a man have; they feel and feed and influence each other, each unto all,

Like the cells of a man's body making one being,

They make one being, one consciousness, one life, one God.
…..