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Birth-Dues

Robinson Jeffers 1887 (Allegheny) – 1962 (Carmel-by-the-Sea)

Joy is a trick in the air; pleasure is merely
  contemptible, the dangled
Carrot the ass follows to market or precipice;
But limitary pain -- the rock under the tower
  and the hewn coping
That takes thunder at the head of the turret-
Terrible and real. Therefore a mindless dervish
  carving himself
With knives will seem to have conquered the world.

The world's God is treacherous and full of
  unreason; a torturer, but also
The only foundation and the only fountain.
Who fights him eats his own flesh and perishes
  of hunger; who hides in the grave
To escape him is dead; who enters the Indian
Recession to escape him is dead; who falls in
  love with the God is washed clean
Of death desired and of death dreaded.

He has joy, but Joy is a trick in the air; and
  pleasure, but pleasure is contemptible;
And peace; and is based on solider than pain.
He has broken boundaries a little and that will
estrange him; he is monstrous, but not
To the measure of the God.... But I having told
  you--
However I suppose that few in the world have
  energy to hear effectively-
Have paid my birth-dues; am quits with the
  people.

Submitted by Holt

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Robinson Jeffers

John Robinson Jeffers was an American poet, known for his work about the central California coast. more…

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