New Mexican Mountain

October 7, 2013
mnts 2 fm deck

View from friends’ deck in Santa Fe.

New Mexican Mountain

by Robinson Jeffers

I watch the Indians dancing to help the young corn at Taos
pueblo. The old men squat in a ring
And make the song, the young women with fat bare arms, and a
few shame-faced young men, shuffle the dance.

The lean-muscled young men are naked to the narrow loins,
their breasts and backs daubed with white clay,
Two eagle-feathers plume the black heads. They dance with
reluctance, they are growing civilized; the old men persuade them.

Only the drum is confident, it thinks the world has not changed;
the beating heart, the simplest of rhythms,
It thinks the world has not changed at all; it is only a dreamer,
a brainless heart, the drum has no eyes.

These tourists have eyes, the hundred watching the dance, white
Americans, hungrily too, with reverence, not laughter;
Pilgrims from civilization, anxiously seeking beauty, religion,
poetry; pilgrims from the vacuum.

People from cities, anxious to be human again. Poor show how
they suck you empty! The Indians are emptied,
And certainly there was never religion enough, nor beauty nor
poetry here … to fill Americans.

Only the drum is confident, it thinks the world has not changed.
Apparently only myself and the strong
Tribal drum, and the rockhead of Taos mountain, remember
that civilization is a transient sickness.

6 comments on “New Mexican Mountain
  1. Love this poem, it’s beautiful. There’s something magical about drumming, especially as done by Native Americans.

  2. Susan Cooper says:

    Beautiful poetry. There is such a majestic thing about Native American drumming and their customs. 🙂

  3. love the visuals and the sound of the drum beat running through this poem

    • admin says:

      I heard the drumbeat, too. So good. If you haven’t visited his home in Carmel, CA, it’s available for tour. Great little place.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Follow Carol


Here you’ll find my blog, some of my essays, published writing, and my solo performances. There’s also a link to my Etsy shop for healing and grief tools offered through A Healing Spirit.


I love comments, so if something resonates with you in any way, don’t hesitate to leave a comment on my blog. Thank you for stopping by–oh, and why not subscribe so you don’t miss a single post?


Subscribe to my Blog

Receive notifications of my new blog posts directly to your email.