Cawdor and Other Poems, it might safely be said, was for Jeffers a return to planet earth. After a flight of hubris the year before with The Women at Point Sur, he was perhaps humbled and ready to apply his remarkable talents toward narrative. The title piece Cawdor, though less ambitious than The Women at Point Sur, was a more mature work. Jeffers had been in his 40s for a year now, and he was still maturing as an artist and as a man as well. He’d come to terms with not being the latest incarnation of Goethe.
Jeffers was nearing completion on the stonework of the Tor House dance hall extension. 1928 would be the final full year for the Jeffers family at Carmel Point. In the following summer they would begin to travel regularly.
Fire continued to be used heavily in Cawdor and Other Poems. The hawk continued to be major image. Cawdor, Hurt Hawks, and The Bird with the Dark Plumes made significant use of hawks.
Also in this volume, Fawn’s Foster Mother stands out as one of those few odd cases where a Jeffers poem appears in a variety of anthologies but is wholly omitted from collections committed to the work of Robinson Jeffers (aside from Robert Hass’ short-lived collection, Rock and Hawk). It is a poem about an aged mountain matriarch—a splendidly odd portrait.
First published in Poetry (1928):
- The Women at Cythaeron (Poetry Magazine)
- The Trumpet (Poetry Magazine)
- Portions of The Broken Balance (Dear Judas and Other Poems, 1929)
- III: The Machine
- IV: July Fourth by the Ocean
- Birth-Dues (Poetry Magazine)
First published in Poems (1928):
- On Building with Stone
First published in Cawdor and Other Poems (1928):
- The Dead Man’s Child
- Fawn’s Foster-Mother
- A Redeemer
- An Artist
- The Summit Redwood
- Ascent to the Sierras
- Bixby’s Landing
- The Bird with the Dark Plumes
- Tor House
- George Sterling’s Death
- Hurt Hawks
- Meditation on Saviors