Here you will find the Long Poem A Redeemer of poet Robinson Jeffers
The road had steepened and the sun sharpened on the high ridges; the stream probably was dry, Certainly not to be come to down the pit of the canyon. We stopped for water at the one farm In all that mountain. The trough was cracked with drought, the moss on the boards dead, but an old dog Rose like a wooden toy at the house-door silently. I said 'There will be water somewhere about,' And when I knocked a man showed us a spring of water. Though his hair was nearly white I judged him Forty years old at most. His eyes and voice were muted. It is likely he kept his hands hidden, I failed to see them until we had dipped the spring. He stood then on the lip of the great slope And looked westward over an incredible country to the far hills that dammed the sea-fog: it billowed Above them, cascaded over them, it never crossed them, gray standing flood. He stood gazing, his hands Were clasped behind him; I caught a glimpse of serous red under the fingers, and looking sharply When they drew apart saw that both hands were wounded. I said 'Your hands are hurt.' He twitched them from sight, But after a moment having earnestly eyed me displayed them. The wounds were in the hearts of the palms, Pierced to the backs like stigmata of crucifixion. The horrible raw flesh protruded, glistening And granular, not scabbed, nor a sign of infection. 'These are old wounds.' He answered, 'Yes. They don't heal.' He stood Moving his lips in silence, his back against that fabulous basin of mountains, fold beyond fold, Patches of forest and scarps of rock, high domes of dead gray pasture and gray beds of dry rivers, dear and particular in die burning air, too bright to appear real, to the last range The fog from the ocean like a stretched compacted thunderstorm overhung; and he said gravely: 'I pick them open. I made them long ago with a clean steel. It is only a litde to pay' He stretched and flexed the fingers, I saw his sunburnt lips whiten in a line, compressed together, 'If only it proves enough for a time to save so many.' I searched his face for madness but that Is often invisible, a subtle spirit. 'There never,' he said, 'was any people earned so much ruin. I love them, I am trying to suffer for them. It would be bad if I should die, I am careful Against excess.' 'You think of the wounds,' I said, 'of Jesus?' He laughed angrily and frowned, stroking The fingers of one hand with the other. 'Religion is the people's opium. Your little Jew-God? My pain,' he said with pride, 'is voluntary. They have done what never was done before. Not as a people takes a land to love it and be fed, A little, according to need and love, and again a little; sparing the country tribes, mixing Their blood with theirs, their minds with all the rocks and rivers, their flesh with the soil: no, without hunger Wasting the world and your own labor, without love possessing, not even your hands to the dirt but plows Like blades of knives; heartless machines; houses of steel: using and despising the patient earth . . . Oh, as a rich man eats a forest for profit and a field for vanity, so you came west and raped The continent and brushed its people to death. Without need, the weak skirmishing hunters, and without mercy. Well, God's a scarecrow; no vengeance out of old rags. But there are acts breeding their own reversals In their own bellies from the first day. I am here' he saidand broke off suddenly and said 'They take horses And give them sicknesses through hollow needles, their blood saves babies: I am here on the mountain making Antitoxin for all the happy towns and farms, the lovely blameless children, the terrible Arrogant cities. I used to think them terrible: their gray prosperity, 'their pride: from up here Specks of mildew. But when I am dead and all you with whole hands think of nothing but happiness, Will you go mad and kill each other? Or horror come over the ocean on wings and cover your sun? I wish,' he said trembling, 'I had never been born.' His wife came from the door while he was talking. Mine asked her quietly, 'Do you live all alone here, Are you not afraid?' 'Certainly not,' she answered, 'he is always gentle and loving. I have no complaint Except his groans in the night keep me awake often. But when I think of other women's Troubles: my own daughter's: I'm older than my husband, I have been married before: deep is my peace.'