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July Fourth By The Ocean

Robinson Jeffers 1887 (Allegheny) – 1962 (Carmel-by-the-Sea)

The continent's a tamed ox, with all its mountains,
Powerful and servile; here is for plowland, here is
  for park and playground, this helpless
Cataract for power; it lies behind us at heel
All docile between this ocean and the other. If
  flood troubles the lowlands, or earthquake
Cracks walls, it is only a slave's blunder or the
  natural
Shudder of a new made slave. Therefore we happy
  masters about the solstice
Light bonfires on the shore and celebrate our power.
The bay's necklaced with fire, the bombs make crystal
  fountains in the air, the rockets
Shower swan's-neck over the night water.... I
  imagined
The stars drew apart a little as if from troublesome
  children, coldly compassionate;
But the ocean neither seemed astonished nor in awe:
If this had been the little sea that Xerxes whipped,
  how it would have feared us.

Submitted by Holt

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Robinson Jeffers

John Robinson Jeffers was an American poet, known for his work about the central California coast. more…

All Robinson Jeffers poems | Robinson Jeffers Books

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