Tuesday, May 20, 2014


The Two-Footed Beast That Inflicts Terror

Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962), "The King of Beasts," The Collected Poetry of Robinson Jeffers, Vol. 3: 1939-1962, ed. Tim Hunt (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1991), p. 138:
Cattle in the slaughter-pens, laboratory dogs
Slowly tortured to death, flogged horses, trapped fur-bearers,
Agonies in the snow, splintering your needle teeth on chill steel,—look:
Mankind, your Satans, are not very happy either. I wish you had seen the battle-squalor, the bombings,
The screaming fire-deaths. I wish you could watch the endless hunger, the cold, the moaning, the hopelessness.
I wish you could smell the Russian and the German torture-camps. It is quite natural the two-footed beast
That inflicts terror, the cage, enslavement, torment and death on all other animals
Should eat the dough that he mixes and drink the death-cup. It is just and decent. And it will increase, I think.
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