Winter Sundown

By Robinson Jeffers

(In Memory of George Sterling)

Sorrows have come before and have stood mute
With blind implacable masks, the eyes cannot endure them,
They draw sidelong and stand
At the shoulder; they never depart.

It is not good to pretend vision or enlightenment,
Charm grief asleep with falsehoods; no further is known
But that the beautiful friend
We loved grew weary of the suns.

He said there was a friend among friends; he has found him;
We too shall go sometime and touch what gift
Hides in the careful hand
Under the dark cloak.

Gifts are light darts flung at a friend's desire,
This last one takes the target. I have thought for myself
That peace is a good harbor.
Shall I not think so for him?

The sweetest voice of the iron years has desire
Silence, the prince of friendship has desired peace.
He that gave, and not asked
But for a friend's sake, has taken

One gift for himself; he gives a greater and goes out
Remembered utterly generous, constraining sorrow
Like winter sundown, splendid
Memory to ennoble our nights.

The gray mothers of rain sail and glide over,
The rain has fallen, the deep-wombed earth is renewed;
Under the greening of the hills
Gulls flock in the black furrows.

And how shall one believe he will not return
To be our guest in the house, not wander with me
Again by the Carmel river,
Nor the reef at Soberanes?

Overland Monthly and Out West Magazine, March 1927, Volume LXXXV, Number 3, pg. 73.