It is not bad.  Let them play.
Let the guns bark and the bombing-plane
Speak his prodigious blasphemies.
It is not bad, it is high time,
Stark violence is still the sire of all the world’s values.

What but the wolf’s tooth whittled so fine
The fleet limbs of the antelope?
What but fear winged the birds, and hunger
Jewelled with such eyes the great goshawk’s head?
Violence has been the sire of all the world’s values.

Who would remember Helen’s face
Lacking the terrible halo of spears?
Who formed Christ but Herod and Caesar,
The cruel and bloody victories of Caesar?
Violence, the bloody sire of all the world’s values.

Never weep, let them play,
Old violence is not too old to beget new values.

  • Robinson Jeffers, “The Bloody Sire” from The Selected Poetry of Robinson Jeffers. Copyright by the Jeffers Literary Properties. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of Stanford University Press, www.sup.org.

  • Source: The Selected Poetry of Robinson Jeffers (Stanford University Press, 2001)

Poet Bio

What People are Saying

"I have always loved poetry, but through Poetry Out Loud I have learned a greater respect for all different types of poetry. This competition is so much more than memorizing and reciting a poem; I became very invested in each one of my poems."
Janessa Gould
2017 WI POL Champion