In this poem, Jeffers relates how a wildfire helps an eagle to hunt its prey. The fire does this by flushing prey—in this case deer—out into the open. Though the eagle may be pursuing the deer, it seems reasonable to think that the eagle is not foremost on the mind of the deer. It is debatable whether the deer regard the eagle as a threat at all. The primary destroyer is the fire. The eagle, as they often do, is acting in the role of an opportunist. Jeffers, in reflecting on all the beautiful mayhem that ensues, concludes,
The destruction that brings an eagle from heaven is better than mercy. (SP 394)
@2006 Oxford University Press. Limited preview provided by Google Books.
This poem is included in the following anthologies:
- The Oxford Book of American Poetry, 2006; ed. David Lehman
- California Poetry: From the Gold Rush to the Present, 2003; ed. Dana Gioia, Chryss Yost, and Jack Hicks
- The Wild God of the World: An Anthology of Robinson Jeffers, 2003; ed. Albert Gelpi
- The Selected Poetry of Robinson Jeffers, Stanford, 2001; ed. Tim Hunt