February 21, 2007
Perishing Republic

We’ve been here before, for whatever comfort that might offer. Maybe we never left. At any rate, here’s Shine, Perishing Republic by Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962):

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.



Posted by Jerome Doolittle at February 21, 2007 06:37 PM
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And to think he was writing when nobody had even heard of Karl Rove or Paris Hilton or Donald Trump. Jeffers is lucky he died when he did.

Posted by: Fast Eddie on February 21, 2007 7:13 PM

The United States reminds me of a Replicant in Blade Runner: Too perfect, too powerful, too smart and beyond human.

"So they came out with a security device... a short life span."

Posted by: Dante Lee on February 21, 2007 8:30 PM

Trouble is, there's never a Harrison Ford around when you need one.

Posted by: Aitch Jay on February 22, 2007 3:45 PM

When California finally breaks off the continent and becomes an island, do we still have to be part of America?

Posted by: on February 25, 2007 11:28 PM
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