THE GREAT EXPLOSION
—Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962)
The universe expands and contracts like a great heart.
It is expanding, the farthest nebulae
Rush with the speed of light into empty space.
It will contract, the immense navies of stars and galaxies, dust clouds and nebulae
Are recalled home, they crush against each other in one harbor, they stick in one lump
And then explode it, nothing can hold them down; there is no way to express that explosion; all that exists
Roars into flame, the tortured fragments rush away from each other into all the sky, new universes
Jewel the black breast of night; and far off the outer nebulae like charging spearmen again
No wonder we are so fascinated with fireworks
And our huge bombs: it is a kind of homesickness perhaps for the howling fireblast that we were born from.
But the whole sum of the energies
That made and contain the giant atom survives. It will gather again and pile up, the power and the glory—
And no doubt it will burst again; diastole and systole: the whole universe beats like a heart.
Peace in our time was never one of God's promises; but back and forth, live and die, burn and be damned,
The great heart beating, pumping into our arteries His terrible life.
He is beautiful beyond belief.
And we, God's apes—or tragic children—share in the beauty.
We see it above our torment, that's what life's for.
He is no God of love, no justice of a little city like Dante's Florence, no anthropoid God
Making commandments: this is the God who does not care and will never cease. Look at the seas there
Flashing against this rock in the darkness—look at the tide-stream stars—and the fall of nations—and dawn
Wandering with wet white feet down the Carmel Valley to meet the sea. These are real and we see their beauty.
The great explosion is probably only a metaphor—I know not—of faceless violence, the root of all things.
Go to www.robinsonjeffersassociation.org to link into the Robinson Jeffers Association website for all its wonderful info and photos.
“Wandering with wet white feet down the Carmel Valley
to meet the sea…”
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