New Year’s Dawn, 1947

by Robinson Jeffers

Two morning stars, Venus and Jupiter,
Walk in the pale and liquid light
Above the color of these dawns; and as the tide of light
Rises higher the great planet vanishes
While the nearer still shines. The yellow wave of light
In the east and south reddens, the opaque ocean
Becomes pale purple: Oh the delicate
Earnestness of dawn, the fervor and the pallor.
—Stubbornly I think again: The state is a blackmailer,
Honest or not, with whom we make (within reason)
Our accommodations. There is no valid authority
In church or state, custom, scripture nor creed,
But only in one’s own conscience and the beauty of things.
Doggedly I think again: One’s own conscience is a trick oracle,
Worked by parents and nurse-maids, the pressure of people,
And the delusions of dead prophets: trust it not.
Wash it clean to receive the transhuman beauty: then trust it.


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