Why think sun and stones less alive than sea lions,
why privilege proteins or the slow burn of carbohydrates,
is that the only life there is?
Or, he might say, fire and granite suffer as much as everything else,
it would be a diminishment not to think so.
Still, he'd walk the shore, evenings, with his bulldog
— bow-legs working to keep pace,
darting to the foam-line, distracted,
racing to catch up again, delay then hurry,
the creature performing a cheerful little drama —
and the poet, who could not be wholeheartedly pleased
with anything human, he liked that too.
“Robinson Jeffers” will be in Mark Doty's forthcoming book, Deep Lane, which will be published in 2014 by W.W. Norton.
Mark Doty is interviewed in this edition of Sleet.