We have been having a conversation regarding great american poets. My father believes Allen Ginsberg’s poetry is not very good, but Walt Whitman is one of the greatest poets ever. Meanwhile, my brother says Ginsberg was heavily influenced by Whitman and their work is very similar.
My father believes Robinson Jeffers is one of the greatest american poets and he showed us a big book with beautiful pictures of the central californian coast and lines from Jeffers’ poems. Jeffers lived nearBig Sur. One of his most well known poems is called The Anwer and goes as follows:
Then what is the answer?- Not to be deluded by dreams.
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.