Here you will find the Long Poem Going To The Horse Flats of poet Robinson Jeffers
Amazingly active a toothless old man Hobbled beside me up the canyon, going to Horse Flats, he said, To see to some hives of bees. It was clear that he lived alone and craved companionship, yet he talked little Until we came to a place where the gorge widened, and deer-hunters had camped on a slip of sand Beside the stream. They had left the usual rectangle of fired stones and ashes, also some crumpled Sheets of a recent newspaper with loud headlines. The old man rushed at them And spread them flat, held them his arm's length, squinting through narrowed eyelids poor trick old eyes learn, to make Lids act for lens. He read 'Spain Battle. Rebels kill captives. City bombed Reds kill hostages. Prepare For war Stalin warns troops.' He trembled and said, 'Please read me the little printing, I hardly ever Get to hear news.' He wrung his withered hands while I read; it was strange in that nearly inhuman wilderness To see an old hollow-cheeked hermit dancing to the world's echoes. After I had read he said 'That's enough. They were proud and oppressed the poor and are punished for it; but those that punish them are full of envy and hatred And are punished for it; and again the others; and again the others. It is so forever, there is no way out. Only the crimes and cruelties grow worse perhaps.' I said, 'You are too hopeless. There are ways out.' He licked his empty gums with his tongue, wiped his mouth and said 'What ways?' I said 'The Christian way: forgiveness, to forgive your enemies, Give good for evil.' The old man threw down the paper and said 'How long ago did Christ live? Ah? Have the people in Spain never heard about him? Or have the Russians, Or Germans? Do you think I'm a fool?' 'Well,' I said to try him, 'there's another way: extermination. If the winning side will totally destroy its enemies, lives and thoughts, liquidate them, firing-squads For the people and fire for the books and records: the feud will then be Finished forever.' He said justly, 'Yoiire the fool,' picked up his bundle and hurried through the shadow-dapple Of noon in the narrow canyon, his ragged coat-tails flapping like mad over the coonskin patch In the seat of his trousers. I waited awhile, thinking he wished to be quit of company. Sweet was the clear Chatter of the stream now that our talk was hushed; the flitting water-ouzel returned to her stone; A lovely snake, two delicate scarlet lines down the dark back, swam through the pool. The flood-battered Trees by the stream are more noble than cathedral-columns. Why do we invite the world's rancors and agonies Into our minds though walking in a wilderness? Why did he want the news of the world? He could do nothing To help nor hinder. Nor you nor I can . . . for the world. It is certain the world cannot be stopped nor saved. It has changes to accomplish and must creep through agonies toward new discovery. It must, and it ought: the awful necessity Is also the sacrificial duty. Man's world is a tragic music and is not played for man's happiness, Its discords are not resolved but by other discords. But for each man There is real solution, let him turn from himself and man to love God. He is out of the trap then. He will remain Part of the music, but will hear it as the player hears it. He will be superior to death and fortune, unmoved by success or failure. Pity can make him weep still, Or pain convulse him, but not to the center, and he can conquer them. . . . But how could I impart this knowledge To that old man? Or indeed to anyone? I know that all men instinctively rebel against it. But yet They will come to it at last. Then man will have come of age; he will still suffer and still die, but like a God, not a tortured animal.