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About this Poem 

“To an Old Square Piano” was originally published in Jeffers’s second collection Californians (Macmillan, 1916). 

To an Old Square Piano

Whose fingers wore your ivory keys
So thin—as tempest and tide-flow
Some pearly shell, the castaway
Of indefatigable seas
On a low shingle far away—
You will not tell, we cannot know.

Only, we know that you are come,
Full of strange ghosts melodious
The old years forget the echoes of,
From the ancient house into our home;
And you will sing of old-world love,
And of ours too, and live with us.

Sweet sounds will feed you here: our woods
Are vocal with the seawind's breath;
Nor want they wing-borne choristers,
Nor the ocean's organ-interludes.
—Be true beneath her hands, even hers
Who is more to me than life or death.

This poem is in the public domain.

This poem is in the public domain.

Robinson Jeffers

Robinson Jeffers

Drawing on the "beauty of things" in nature, Robinson Jeffers wrote poetry that highlighted the difference between the natural world and the condition of the modern man

by this poet

poem
In scornful upright loneliness they stand,
     Counting themselves no kin of anything
     Whether of earth or sky. Their gnarled roots cling
Like wasted fingers of a clutching hand
In the grim rock. A silent spectral band
     They watch the old sky, but hold no communing
     With aught. Only, when some lone
poem
When the sun shouts and people abound
One thinks there were the ages of stone and the age of
     bronze
And the iron age; iron the unstable metal;
Steel made of iron, unstable as his mother; the tow-
     ered-up cities
Will be stains of rust on mounds of plaster.
Roots will not pierce the heaps for a time,
poem

The things that one grows tired of—O, be sure
They are only foolish artificial things!
Can a bird ever tire of having wings?
And I, so long as life and sense endure,
(Or brief be they!) shall nevermore inure
My heart to the recurrence of the springs,
Of gray dawns, the gracious