Reading: Vulture by Robinson Jeffers

Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962) wrote narrative poetry about the Californian coast. He was an icon of the environmental movement who loved nature more than man, influenced by Whitman and Wordsworth. He even called his ideas ‘inhumanism’ because he desired to change the focus from man to not man. Poets like Robert Hass , William Everson or Gary Snyder were influenced by Jeffers.
I read an observation about a wheeling vulture:

Vulture
I had walked since dawn and lay down to rest on a bare hillside
Above the ocean. I saw through half-shut eyelids a vulture wheeling
high up in heaven,
And presently it passed again, but lower and nearer, its orbit
narrowing,
I understood then
That I was under inspection. I lay death-still and heard the flight-
feathers
Whistle above me and make their circle and come nearer.
I could see the naked red head between the great wings
Bear downward staring. I said, ‘My dear bird, we are wasting time
here.
These old bones will still work; they are not for you.’ But how
beautiful
he looked, gliding down
On those great sails; how beautiful he looked, veering away in the
sea-light
over the precipice. I tell you solemnly
That I was sorry to have disappointed him. To be eaten by that beak
and
become part of him, to share those wings and those eyes–
What a sublime end of one’s body, what an enskyment; what a life
after death.

I see a sober yet intimate invocation of that longing to be part of something greater, to be literally incorporated in the vulture who glides overhead. Solemnity, veering away in the sea-light, great sails for wings, these will be interpreted as religious symbols just because we can. Let’s not. They word ‘enskyment’ is a great find, the literal opposite of ‘enterrement’, a life after death as part of the magnificence of nature.

It is a very simple event, a hiker who sees a predator bird in the sky. And look what poetry can make of it.

Reading: Vulture by Robinson Jeffers was originally published on Meandering home

January 12. Birthday.

It’s my birthday today. We get up at five am but of course Mr. Maasai Chief is not there. We ring him and he is still far away. We decide to go with another car and it seems we are going to have a friendly relation with the driver. But he has smelled money. He has betrayed us by promising to take us to the Maasai Mara, including a ride inside there (since that was why he had taken the 4wd). In the end it turned out that it was just the taxi to the entry of the Maasai Mara. The guy’s name is Edwin and I tell you, beware of him. Beware of all the guys in that area. They smell your money and they are relentless like the vultures in the park.

So we are left in the middle of nowhere. Suddenly there is a big jeep and I have to pay 100$ for the game drive. Since it is my birthday, I pay, but I decide that this is my last touristy thing in Kenya. I also pay the park entries for me and my friends. I reckon it must be so comfortable to have “no money”. I wanna try that some day. The big jeep takes us to see the big five and we have big fun. Yeah! Giraffe, Wildebeest, Ostrich, Vulture, and Hartebeest. Or…? Ah, yes, of course. We have seen Hippo, Rhino, Lion, Elephant, and Water Buffalo and plenty of them. It was very cool and generated awesome pictures for Charity Travel. See? You can combine the good with the cool.

We pass by a posh safari lounge and pay the park entrance. In the afternoon the driver shows us more but demands more money. I say no, and use the power I invent.
“This is kidnapping. If you don’t drop us at the Talek gate I will sue you for kidnapping. I know people. I know the MP of Kisumu west.”
The driver was shocked. Kenya adds a good whine and we go to the Talek gate. No more tourist milking for today. That idiot driver even lied to us about the price of diesel to make himself seem poor.

Anyway, we find a cheap place to stay and have a good night with friendly people. Tomorrow we will hitchhike and they will all help us and it won’t cost us a dime, I dream.

January 12. Birthday.

It’s my birthday today. We get up at five am but of course Mr. Maasai Chief is not there. We ring him and he is still far away. We decide to go with another car and it seems we are going to have a friendly relation with the driver. But he has smelled money. He has betrayed us by promising to take us to the Maasai Mara, including a ride inside there (since that was why he had taken the 4wd). In the end it turned out that it was just the taxi to the entry of the Maasai Mara. The guy’s name is Edwin and I tell you, beware of him. Beware of all the guys in that area. They smell your money and they are relentless like the vultures in the park.

So we are left in the middle of nowhere. Suddenly there is a big jeep and I have to pay 100$ for the game drive. Since it is my birthday, I pay, but I decide that this is my last touristy thing in Kenya. I also pay the park entries for me and my friends. I reckon it must be so comfortable to have “no money”. I wanna try that some day. The big jeep takes us to see the big five and we have big fun. Yeah! Giraffe, Wildebeest, Ostrich, Vulture, and Hartebeest. Or…? Ah, yes, of course. We have seen Hippo, Rhino, Lion, Elephant, and Water Buffalo and plenty of them. It was very cool and generated awesome pictures for Charity Travel. See? You can combine the good with the cool.

We pass by a posh safari lounge and pay the park entrance. In the afternoon the driver shows us more but demands more money. I say no, and use the power I invent.
“This is kidnapping. If you don’t drop us at the Talek gate I will sue you for kidnapping. I know people. I know the MP of Kisumu west.”
The driver was shocked. Kenya adds a good whine and we go to the Talek gate. No more tourist milking for today. That idiot driver even lied to us about the price of diesel to make himself seem poor.

Anyway, we find a cheap place to stay and have a good night with friendly people. Tomorrow we will hitchhike and they will all help us and it won’t cost us a dime, I dream.

January 12. Birthday. was originally published on Meandering home