Robinson Jeffers

Here you will find the Poem Original Sin of poet Robinson Jeffers

Original Sin

The man-brained and man-handed ground-ape, physically 
The most repulsive of all hot-blooded animals 
Up to that time of the world: they had dug a pitfall 
And caught a mammoth, but how could their sticks and stones 
Reach the life in that hide? They danced around the pit, shrieking 
With ape excitement, flinging sharp flints in vain, and the stench of their bodies 
Stained the white air of dawn; but presently one of them 
Remembered the yellow dancer, wood-eating fire 
That guards the cave-mouth: he ran and fetched him, and others 
Gathered sticks at the wood?s edge; they made a blaze 
And pushed it into the pit, and they fed it high, around the mired sides 
Of their huge prey. They watched the long hairy trunk 
Waver over the stifle trumpeting pain, 
And they were happy. 

Meanwhile the intense color and nobility of sunrise, 
Rose and gold and amber, flowed up the sky. Wet rocks were shining, a little wind 
Stirred the leaves of the forest and the marsh flag-flowers; the soft valley between the low hills 
Became as beautiful as the sky; while in its midst, hour after hour, the happy hunters 
Roasted their living meat slowly to death. 

These are the people. 
This is the human dawn. As for me, I would rather 

Be a worm in a wild apple than a son of man. 
But we are what we are, and we might remember 
Not to hate any person, for all are vicious; 
And not be astonished at any evil, all are deserved; 
And not fear death; it is the only way to be cleansed.