Give Your Heart to the Hawks and Other Poems (1933)

By 1932, Robinson Jeffers was a celebrity, and he had lots of famous friends and admirers, whether he liked it or not. The distractions of fame would weigh more and more on him in the coming years.

The title piece of Give Your Heart has the accessibility of modern, naturalistic prose with a few intervals of poetic imagery and a brief but overbearing sermon from the author on the blessings of a sudden and youthful death. At the same time, it is another of Jeffers’ Bible story retellings, this time, of Cain (Lance) and Able (Michael). Significantly longer than Tamar, it is Jeffers’ fourth longest poem—if it can properly be called a poem. It approaches the flowing, naturalistic feel of a modern novel.

The land, in this story, seems to be more of a backdrop than a major player as it had been in much of Jeffers’s earlier work. It is, as was common with Jeffers, a tale about human sin, with the initial deadly sins of Cain being jealousy and debauchery, but the greatest sin is guilt. This last, deadliest, and most Judeo-Christian of all sins, the author appears to say through Lance’s loving and controlling wife Fayne, is an unworthy sin of human consciousness and conscience. Its antidote is, as before, inhumanism.

Descent to the Dead was first published before Thurso’s Landing but was included later in Give Your Heart to the Hawks.

  • Give Your Heart to the Hawks
  • The Stone Axe
  • A Little Scraping
  • Intellectuals
  • Triad
  • Still the Mind Smiles
  • Crumbs or the Loaf
  • Resurrection
  • At the Fall of an Age