Robinson Jeffers: “Be Angry at the Sun”

[JFK: Here’s a poetic perspective on politics some may call cynical, some may say stoic. Jeffers referred to his philosophical distance from people as “inhumanism.” This should not, however, be confused with inhumane-ism. Jeffers built a house of stone in Carmel, CA overlooking the Pacific in the days before Carmel was a haven for wealth and tourists. My favorite lines are “the cold passion for truth/Hunts in no pack.” It’s a comforting poem in its way.]

By Robinson Jeffers

 

512px-Robinson_Jeffers_Hawk_Tower,_Tor_House,_Carmel,_CA_2008_Photo_by_Celeste_Davison
 Robinson Jeffers Hawk Tower, Tor House, Carmel, CA 2008 Photo by Celeste Davison at English Wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Be Angry at the Sun

 

That public men publish falsehoods
Is nothing new. That America must accept
Like the historical republics corruption and empire
Has been known for years.

Be angry at the sun for setting
If these things anger you. Watch the wheel slope and turn,
They are all bound on the wheel, these people, those warriors.
This republic, Europe, Asia.

Observe them gesticulating,
Observe them going down. The gang serves lies, the passionate
Man plays his part; the cold passion for truth
Hunts in no pack.

You are not Catullus, you know,
To lampoon these crude sketches of Caesar. You are far
From Dante’s feet, but even farther from his dirty
Political hatreds.

Let boys want pleasure, and men
Struggle for power, and women perhaps for fame,
And the servile to serve a Leader and the dupes to be duped.
Yours is not theirs.