Friday Poem


At night a knot of sea-lions lies off the shore
In the slow swell between the rock and the cliff,
Sharp flippers lifted, or great-eyed heads, as they roll in the sea,
Bigger than draft horses, and barking like dogs
Their all-night song. It makes me wonder a little
That life near kin to human, intelligent, hot-blooded, idle and
singing, can float at ease
In the ice-cold midwinter water. Then, yellow dawn
Colors the south, I think about the rapid and furious lives
in the sun:
They have little to do with ours; they have nothing to do with
oxygen and salted water; they would look monstrous
If we could see them : the beautiful passionate bodies of living
flame, batlike flapping and screaming,
Tortured with burning lust and acute awareness, that ride the
Of the great fire-globe. They are animals as we are. There are
many other chemistries of animal life
Besides the slow oxidation of carbohydrates and amino-acids.

by Robinson Jeffers
News of the Universe—
Poems of Twofold Consciousness chosen by Robert Bly
Sierra Club Books, 1995