If “Hope” is the thing with feathers, there is nothing wrong with clipping those wings a bit with the marvelous gloom of Robinson Jeffers’ perishing republic.
When I first read “Shine, Perishing Republic,” I was in college. I remember thinking that it captured the spirit of the day with startling accuracy. Startling for the clarity of the imagery and for the distance Jeffers’ lens extended from when the poem was written in 1938.
15 years later, when I read the poem, I see that it only seemed to be perfectly pitched to convey the moment of those days. I see now that it was, in fact, tuned to this day, to this moment in American history.