Stone Prophet

Robinson Jeffers was not just a poet and a stonemason: he was a prophet. He was a prophet inasmuch as he spoke for his God and what for him was a profound truth. Like prophets of old, he scolded mankind for its sin, and he glorified his God, reminding himself and his readers of God’s overwhelming beauty and might. Jeffers’ God is not the sort of God that one could pray to, but rather his God is a pantheistic God, not necessarily conscious but not unintelligent. Man, to Jeffers, is merely a species, so the prophet christened his religion “inhumanism,” to express his conviction that “we must unhumumanize our views a little” (see Carmel Point).

Jeffers’ ministry as prophet of inhumanism was well-established by 1925, when he published “Roan Stallion,” a poem that, obviously influenced by Nietzsche, directly advocated a transhuman worldview. In the next year he published Apology for Bad Dreams wherein he invoked the image of of a pantheistic deity that tortures itself.

From 1922 onward, Jeffers was writing profound verse that would startle, invigorate, entrance, and inspire readers throughout America and even the world. As the cave in the mountain above Mecca had given a voice to the illiterate Muhammad and the burning bush on Mount Sinai had given the law to the murderer Moses, the sea-granite of Carmel Point gave a prophetic mission to an aimless heir from LA. Though this prophet was very much a poet in the Judeo-Christian Biblical tradition, the pantheistic God who spoke through was not a God of human chauvinism, not a God who worships man. —Next—>