‘The Answer’ by Robinson Jeffers

To know that great civilizations have broken down into violence,
and their tyrants come, many times before.

When open violence appears, to avoid it with honor or choose
the least ugly faction; these evils are essential.

To keep one’s own integrity, be merciful and uncorrupted
and not wish for evil; and not be duped

By dreams of universal justice or happiness. These dreams will
not be fulfilled.

To know this, and know that however ugly the parts appear
the whole remains beautiful. A severed hand

Is an ugly thing and man dissevered from the earth and stars
and his history… for contemplation or in fact…

Often appears atrociously ugly. Integrity is wholeness,
the greatest beauty is

Organic wholeness, the wholeness of life and things, the divine beauty
of the universe. Love that, not man

Apart from that, or else you will share man’s pitiful confusions,
or drown in despair when his days darken.


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