Saturday, April 01, 2017


"The Caged Eagle's Death Dream" by Troy's Work Table.

Sidewalk chalk wash, sidewalk chalk, chalk pastels, and charcoal pencil on 12" x 12" concrete board.


"Where meteors make green fire and die, the ocean dropping westward to the girdle of the pearls of dawn"


"It saw, according to the sight of its kind, the archetype / Body of life a beaked carnivorous desire / Self-upheld on storm-broad wings: but the eyes / Were spouts of blood; the eyes were gashed out; dark blood / Ran from the ruinous eye-pits to the hook of the beak / And rained on the waste spaces of empty heaven."

—from "The Caged Eagle's Death Dream" (from Cawdor) by Robinson Jeffers, as found in Cawdor and Rock and Hawk: A Selection of Shorter Poems


I knew I was going to have to get Jeffers in here, but I was worried about how to do it. First, his work is so dark and heavy-laden with indifference to humankind and its cultures, governments, and monuments. He makes my misanthropy look downright amateurish. Second, his body of work is so immense I found it hard to hone in one poem. But I decided to focus on one of the shorter pieces from an earlier work, which allowed him to be at the peak of his writing and not yet "destroyed" by the "isms" and slaughter of World War II.


I not going to pretend to even be able to touch his long lines, his (un)holy lifting up of nature at the expense of humankind, the images that tumble over one another.


There is no glory in death here. There is no real fear of death, either. (There is weeping on the part of Michal, though, when George retrieves the revolver and shoots the eagle in its cage. It's "on scene" and its quick. (We can almost miss it, if it wasn't for the dead bird's dreaming.))

Death is.


The phantom of the eagle is as though Icarus, although it welcomes being burned up by the sun ("it's father") when it flies too close, ending up as "peace like a white fawn in a dell of fire."


There is no falling back to earth from the heavens here. There is no.

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