The Bloody Sire

By Robinson Jeffers 1887–1962 Robinson Jeffers
It is not bad.  Let them play.
Let the guns bark and the bombing-plane
Speak his prodigious blasphemies.
It is not bad, it is high time,
Stark violence is still the sire of all the world’s values.

What but the wolf’s tooth whittled so fine
The fleet limbs of the antelope?
What but fear winged the birds, and hunger
Jewelled with such eyes the great goshawk’s head?
Violence has been the sire of all the world’s values.

Who would remember Helen’s face
Lacking the terrible halo of spears?
Who formed Christ but Herod and Caesar,
The cruel and bloody victories of Caesar?
Violence, the bloody sire of all the world’s values.

Never weep, let them play,
Old violence is not too old to beget new values.

Robinson Jeffers, “The Bloody Sire” from The Selected Poetry of Robinson Jeffers. Copyright by the Jeffers Literary Properties. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of Stanford University Press, www.sup.org.

Source: Poetry (December 1940).

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This poem originally appeared in the December 1940 issue of Poetry magazine

December 1940
 Robinson  Jeffers

Biography

Robinson Jeffers was born in 1887 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The son of Presbyterian minister and Biblical scholar, Dr. William Hamilton Jeffers, as a boy Jeffers was thoroughly trained in the Bible and classical languages. The Jeffers family frequently traveled to Europe, and Robinson attended boarding schools in Germany and Switzerland. In 1902, Jeffers enrolled in Western University of Pennsylvania; when his family moved to . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Social Commentaries, History & Politics, War & Conflict

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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