SHINE, PERISHING REPUBLIC
Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962)
This poem was written in the Big Sur region in California, where great mountains emerge like dripping shoulders out of the pacific ocean. The circumstance is that of a remote homestead built with the speaker's own hands. The speaker is a father determined to live apart from civilization and to have his children learn the lessons of nature rather than those of school books. Jeffers outlook on American society is rather bleak, to say the least, but nonetheless has it's own credibility and righteousness, for what it's worth. In paragraph five, Jeffers states:
"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."
It's as if in this paragraph you can almost feel the emptiness that life can bring, and sense the cold shoulder that life can shun. It's as if Jeffers is saying that society can shine brightly with all of it's falsified glamour, but shine or not, it shall perish in the end. And as we dig deeper into the true meaning behind this poem, we bring ourselves to analyze another profound statement that is unearthed. Like paragraph seven:
"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"
Like in this paragraph, Jeffers is reaching out to all of society warning them not to let the corruption and evil of others infect the lives of those dear to you.
There are more important things in life then being accepted by society. He is reaching out to say "Don't let city life take away your soul,.don't forget the roots that brought you to earth in the first place." Which in fact is true in a lot of ways. I think people living the city life often forget to take a moment and listen to what their soul is reaching out to say. We are often to engulfed in the mundane, the nine to five routine that we have been monotonously on for years and years. We have let the city corrode our soul and our true inner self.
Somehow it makes so much sense, even in today's society. Which leaves us to question ourselves; underneath it all, are we shining or are we perishing?