American Muse: Robinson Jeffers


“To an Old Square Piano”

Whose fingers wore your ivory keys

So thin—as tempest and tide-flow

Some pearly shell, the castaway

Of indefatigable seas

On a low shingle far away—

You will not tell, we cannot know.

Only, we know that you are come,
Full of strange ghosts melodious

The old years forget the echoes of,

From the ancient house into our home;

And you will sing of old-world love,

And of ours too, and live with us.

Sweet sounds will feed you here: our woods

Are vocal with the seawind’s breath;

Nor want they wing-borne choristers,

Nor the ocean’s organ-interludes.

—Be true beneath her hands, even hers

Who is more to me than life or death.

Below – The piano in the living room of Tor House, the residence Jeffers built from local stone.

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