Thursday, November 21, 2013

955. Going To Horse Flats (excerpt) - 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 and old hollow-checked 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."

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