Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, CONTINENT'S END, by ROBINSON JEFFERS

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

CONTINENT'S END, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: At the equinox when the earth was veiled in a late rain,
Last Line: The older fountain.
Subject(s): Sea; Children; Migration; Mothers; Ocean; Childhood

AT the equinox when the earth was veiled in a late rain, wreathed with wet
poppies, waiting spring,
The ocean swelled for a far storm and beat its boundary, the ground-swell shook

the beds of granite.

I gazing at the boundaries of granite and spray, the established sea-marks, felt

behind me
Mountain and plain, the immense breadth of the continent, before me the mass and

doubled stretch of water.

I said: You yoke the Aleutian seal-rocks with the lava and coral sowings that
flower the south,
Over your flood the life that sought the sunrise faces ours that has followed
the evening star.

The long migrations meet across you and it is nothing to you, you have forgotten

us, mother.
You were much younger when we crawled out of the womb and lay in the sun's eye
on the tideline.

It was long and long ago; we have grown proud since then and you have grown
bitter; life retains
Your mobile soft unquiet strength; and envies hardness, the insolent quietness
of stone.

The tides are in our veins, we still mirror the stars, life is your child, but
there is in me
Older and harder than life and more impartial, the eye that watched before there

was an ocean.

That watched you fill your beds out of the condensation of thin vapor and
watched you change them,
That saw you soft and violent wear your boundaries down, eat rock, shift places

with the continents.

Mother, though my son's measure is like your surf-beat's ancient rhythm I never

learned it of you.
Before there was any water there were tides of fire, both our tones flow from
the older fountain.

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