Welcome to Poetry.com
Poetry.com is a huge collection of poems from famous and amateur poets from around the world — collaboratively published by a community of authors and contributing editors.
Robinson Jeffers 1887 (Allegheny) – 1962 (Carmel-by-the-Sea)
The little one-room schoolhousc among the redwoods
Opened its door, a dozen children ran out
And saw on the narrow road between the dense trees
A persona girl by the long light-colored hair:
The torn brown cloak that she wore might be a man's
Or woman's eitherwalking hastily northward
Among a huddle of sheep. Her thin young face
Seemed joyful, and lighted from inside, and formed
Too finely to be so wind-burnt. As she went forward
One or another of the trotting sheep would turn
Its head to look at her face, and one would press
Its matted shoulder against her moving thigh.
The schoolchildren stood laughing and shouting together.
'Who's that? ' 'Clare Walker,' they said, 'down from the hill.
She'd fifty sheep and now she's got eight, nine,
Ten: what have you done with all the others, Clare Walker? '
The joy that had lived in her face died, she yet
Went on as if she were deaf, with forward eyes
And lifted head, but the delicate lips moving.
The jeering children ran in behind her, and the sheep
Drew nervously on before, except the old ram,
That close at her side dipped his coiled horns a little
But neither looked back nor edged forward. An urchin shouted
'You killed your daddy, why don't you kill your sheep? '
And a fat girl, 'Oh where's your lover, Clare Walker?
He didn't want you after all.'
The patriarch ram
That walked beside her wore a greasy brown bundle
Tied on his back with cords in the felt of wool,
And one of the little boys, running by, snatched at it
So that it fell. Clare bent to gather it fallen,
And tears dropped from her eyes. She offered no threat
With the bent staff of rosy-barked madrone-wood
That lay in her hand, but said 'Oh please, Oh please,'
As meek as one of her ewes. An eight-year-old girl
Shrilled, 'Whistle for the dogs, make her run like a cat,
Call your dog, Charlie Geary! ' But a brown-skinned
Spanish-Indian boy came forward and said,
'You let her alone. They'll not hurt you, Clare Walker.
Don't cry, I'll walk beside you.' She thanked him, still crying.
Four of the children, who lived southward, turned back;
The rest followed more quietly.
The black-haired boy
Said gently, 'Remember to keep in the road, Clare Walker.
There's enough grass. The ranchers will sick their dogs on you
If you go into the pastures, because their cows
Won't eat where the sheep have passed; but you can walk
Into the woods.' She answered, 'You're kind, you're kind.
Oh yes, I always remember.' The small road dipped
Under the river when they'd come down the hill,
A shallow mountain river that Clare skipped over
By stone after stone, the sheep wading beside her.
The friendly boy went south to the farm on the hill, 'good-by,
good-by,' and Clare with her little flock
Kept northward among great trees like towers in the river- valley.
Her sheep sidled the path, snifHng
The bitter sorrel, lavender-flowering in shade, and the withered
ferns. Toward evening they found a hollow
Of autumn grass.
Clare laughed and was glad, she undid the bundle
from the ram's back
And found in the folds a battered metal cup and a broken loaf.
She shared her bread with the sheep,
A morsel for each, and prettily laughing
Pushed down the reaching faces. 'Piggies, eat grass. Leave me the
crust, Tiny, I can't eat grass.
Nosie, keep off. Here Frannie, here Frannie.' One of the ewes
came close and stood to be milked, Clare stroked
The little udders and drank when the cup filled, and filled it again
and drank, dividing her crust
With the milch ewe; the flock wandered the glade, nibbling white
grass. There was only one lamb among them,
The others had died in the spring storm.
The light in the glade
suddenly increased and changed, the hill
High eastward began to shine and be rosy-colored, and bathed
in so clear a light that up the bare hill
Each clump of yucca stood like a star, bristling sharp rays; while
westward the spires of the giant wood
Were strangely tall and intensely dark on the layered colors of
the winter sundown; their blunt points touched
The high tender blue, their heads were backed by the amber, the
Crossed flaming rose. Then Clare with the flush
Of the solemn
Discuss this Robinson Jeffers poem with the community:
Find a translation for this poem in other languages:
Select another language:
- - Select -
- 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
- 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
- Español (Spanish)
- Esperanto (Esperanto)
- 日本語 (Japanese)
- Português (Portuguese)
- Deutsch (German)
- العربية (Arabic)
- Français (French)
- Русский (Russian)
- ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
- 한국어 (Korean)
- עברית (Hebrew)
- Gaeilge (Irish)
- Українська (Ukrainian)
- اردو (Urdu)
- Magyar (Hungarian)
- मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
- Indonesia (Indonesian)
- Italiano (Italian)
- தமிழ் (Tamil)
- Türkçe (Turkish)
- తెలుగు (Telugu)
- ภาษาไทย (Thai)
- Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
- Čeština (Czech)
- Polski (Polish)
- Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
- Românește (Romanian)
- Nederlands (Dutch)
- Ελληνικά (Greek)
- Latinum (Latin)
- Svenska (Swedish)
- Dansk (Danish)
- Suomi (Finnish)
- فارسی (Persian)
- ייִדיש (Yiddish)
- հայերեն (Armenian)
- Norsk (Norwegian)
- English (English)
Use the citation below to add this poem to your bibliography:
"The Loving Shepherdess" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 28 Jul 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/32880/the-loving-shepherdess>.