• While this America settles in the mould of its vulgarity, heavily thickening to empire,
  • And protest, only a bubble in the molten mass, pops and sighs out, and the mass hardens,
  • I sadly smiling remember that the flower fades to make fruit, the fruit rots to make earth.
  • Out of the mother; and through the spring exultances, ripeness and decadence; and home to the mother.
  • You making haste, haste on decay: not blameworthy; life is good, be it stubbornly long or suddenly
  • A mortal splendor: meteors are not needed less than mountains: shine, perishing republic.
  • But for my children, I would have them keep their distance from the thickening center; corruption
  • Never has been compulsory, when the cities lie at the monster’s feet there are left the mountains.
  • And boys, be in nothing so moderate as in love of man, a clever servant, insufferable master.
  • There is the trap that catches noblest spirits, that caught — they say — God, when he walked on earth.

Robinson Jeffers

The son of a biblical scholar and Presbyterian minister, Robinson Jeffers (1887–1962) was a great American poet whose work celebrates the natural world in general and the landscape of the Northern California coast in particular. Classically educated — he began learning Greek at the age of 5 — Jeffers graduated from Occidental College when he was 18, after which he studied both medicine and forestry. In 1919 he and his wife, Una, moved to a home on the Carmel coast where they lived for the rest of their lives. Jeffers’s reverence for the natural world and his refusal to place man at its center were at the heart of his philosophy of “Inhumanism.” His distrust of humanity, his larger and more prophetic vision of the natural world, and his refusal to write in a “difficult” modernist mode, separate him from most of his contemporaries. Horrified by the carnage of the First World War, he refused to show the required patriotic fervor when America entered the Second World War, which lost him much of the critical acclaim he had won in the 1930s. Both Tor House (the Jeffers’ home in Carmel) and the stone tower Jeffers built with his own hands and in which he did much of his writing, remain significant attractions for travelers along the northern California coast. ”Shine Perishing Republic” is from his collection Roan Stallion, published in 1925.

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