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The Summit Redwood

Robinson Jeffers

Only stand high a long enough time your lightning
     will come; that is what blunts the peaks of
     redwoods;
But this old tower of life on the hilltop has taken
     it more than twice a century, this knows in
     every
Cell the salty and the burning taste, the shudder
     and the voice.

                      The fire from heaven; it has
     felt the earth's too
Roaring up hill in autumn, thorned oak-leaves tossing
     their bright ruin to the bitter laurel-leaves,
     and all
Its under-forest has died and died, and lives to be
     burnt; the redwood has lived. Though the fire
     entered,
It cored the trunk while the sapwood increased. The
     trunk is a tower, the bole of the trunk is a
     black cavern,
The mast of the trunk with its green boughs the
     mountain stars are strained through
Is like the helmet-spike on the highest head of an
     army; black on lit blue or hidden in cloud
It is like the hill's finger in heaven. And when the
     cloud hides it, though in barren summer, the
     boughs
Make their own rain.

                     Old Escobar had a cunning trick
     when he stole beef. He and his grandsons
Would drive the cow up here to a starlight death and
     hoist the carcass into the tree's hollow,
Then let them search his cabin he could smile for
     pleasure, to think of his meat hanging secure
Exalted over the earth and the ocean, a theft like a
     star, secret against the supreme sky.


Submitted by Holt

Added: 2 Jun 2002 | Last Read: 21 Jul 2018 1:25 PM | Viewed: 3707 times

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URL: http://plagiarist.com/poetry/4541/ | Viewed on 21 July 2018.
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