One of my favorite Jeffers poems in Last Poems 1953-62 is this one:
And here’s a portrait of my granddaughter Una
When she was two years old: a remarkable painter.
A perfect likeness; nothing tricky nor modernist,
Nothing of the artist fudging his art into the picture,
But simple and true. She stands in a glade of trees with a still inlet
Of blue ocean behind her. Thus exactly she looked then,
A forgotten flower in her hand, those great bllue eyes
Asking and wondering.
Now she is five ears old
And found herself, she does not ask any more but commands
Sweet and fierce-tempered; that light red hair of hers
Is the fuse for explosions. When she is eighteen
I’ll not be here. I hope she will find her natural elements,
Laughter and violence; and in her quiet times
The beauty of things – the beauty of transhuman things,
Without which we are all lost. I hope she will find
Powerful protection and a man like a hawk to cover her.
I like it is because it counters what I think is Jeffers’ misanthropic poems, much as they were tempered by earlier love poems written to his wife.
But I also share his wish that my grandchildren will learn to appreciate “The beauty of things — the beauty of transhuman things.”
Of course, it could be that my appreciation of this poem was also influenced by the birth of Cory and Margaret’s first daughter, Mira Monday night: