Shine, Perishing Republic


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 Selected Poetry of Robinson Jeffers, Random House, 1953.