Poet: Robinson Jeffers
Dates: 10 January 1887 – 20 January 1962
Title of Poem: Cassandra
The mad girl with the staring eyes and long white fingers
Hooked in the stones of the wall,
The storm-wrack hair and screeching mouth: does it matter, Cassandra,
Whether the people believe
Your bitter fountain? Truly men hate the truth, they’d liefer
Meet a tiger on the road.
Therefore the poets honey their truth with lying; but religion—
Vendors and political men
Pour from the barrel, new lies on the old, and are praised for kind
Wisdom. Poor bitch be wise.
No: you’ll still mumble in a corner a crust of truth, to men
And gods disgusting—you and I, Cassandra.
Brief Biography: Jeffers was a poet and environmentalist. His poetry emphasises his preference for the natural world over the negative influences of civilization. Jeffers did not adhere to the concept that meter is a fundamental part of poetry believing it to be imposed by man and not natural poetry. He published epic poems of natural blank verse and was considered reminiscent of the classical Greek poets.