Tuesday, July 7, 2009


#188, Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

You might remember Carmel-by-the-Sea, the beautiful coastal town in California with the odd affliction of no house numbers. Me taking a vacation there was a bit like a teetotaler going on a pub crawl, but I made do. Bereft of my usual places to look for numbers, I had to look elsewhere. Down, in this instance. This 188 comes from a plaque in front of the Tor House, the residence of Robinson Jeffers. In 1914 Jeffers moved to Carmel and built his house out of stones, bit by bit, where he lived for the rest of his life, writing poetry in the mornings and building stuff in the afternoons.

Many years ago, when I was living something of a lonely life in Dublin, a friend of mine who was an excellent letter writer also sent me the Jeffers poem Divinely Superfluous Beauty. It's a poem I still come back to.
The storm-dances of gulls, the barking game of seals,
Over and under the ocean ...
Divinely superfluous beauty
Rules the games, presides over destinies, makes trees grow
And hills tower, waves fall.
The incredible beauty of joy
Stars with fire the joining of lips, O let our loves too
Be joined, there is not a maiden
Burns and thirsts for love
More than my blood for you, by the shore of seals while the wings
Weave like a web in the air
Divinely superfluous beauty.

1 comment:

Julie said...

Hard pressed to call those 8s upright infinity symbols.