"The man-brained and man-handed ground-apes, physically
The most repulsive of all hot-blooded animals
Up to that time of the world; they had dug a pitfall
And caught a mammoth, but how could their sticks and stones
reach the life in that hide? They danced around the pit, shrieking
With ape excitement, flinging sharp flints in vain, and the stench of their bodies
Stained the white air of dawn; but presently one of them
Remembered the yellow dancer..."
In a word spasm of brutal edification, Jeffers indicts our species in the cradle—preternaturally guilty of world-killing ages before it split the atom—a predictively aggressive and inherently ugly life form that taught itself how to kill and eat meat and in that sense became terminally self-created.
The first third of the poem is drawn above, as if this work were the inspiration of Arthur C. Clarke's primal opening scene in 2001 A Space Odyssey. I encourage the reader to find the rest of the poem in print, in the small, widely available pocket volume, Robinson Jeffers: Selected Poems