Friday, October 06, 2006

3 Items by Gary Snyder

For All

Ah to be alive
on a mid-September morn
fording a stream
barefoot, pants rolled up,
holding boots, pack on,
sunshine, ice in the shallows,
northern rockies.

Rustle and shimmer of icy creek waters
stones turn underfoot, small and hard as toes
cold nose dripping
singing inside
creek music, heart music,
smell of sun on gravel.

I pledge allegiance

I pledge allegiance to the soil
of Turtle Island,
and to the beings who thereon dwell
one ecosystem
in diversity
under the sun
With joyful interpenetration for all.


A path is something that can be followed, it takes you somewhere. "Linear."
What would a path stand against?
"No path."
Off the path, off the trail.
So what's off the path?
In a sense everything else is off the path.
The relentless complexity of the world is off to the side of the trail.
For hunters and herders trails weren't always so useful.
For a foager, the path is not where you walk for long.
Wild herbs, camas bulbs, quail, dye plants, are away from the path.
The whole range of items that fulfill our needs is out there.

We must wander through it to learn and memorize the field
--rolling, crinkled, eroded, gullied, ridged (wrinkled like the brain) -- holding the map in mind.
This is the economic-visualization-meditation exercise of the Inupiaq and Athapaskans of Alaska of this very day.

"Find your place on the planet, dig in and, take responsibility from there."
Gary Snyder


  1. A delight to find Gary Snyder on your blog. That first is a favorite, and I used it when I had an opportunity topresent environmental poetry to fifth graders. I think earth-related poetry is relevant to discussion of the native relationship with the landscape.

  2. Well, thanks!
    I was just re-reading "Turtle Island" and came across "Control Burn" that I was thinking of posting. Many of the stone rows I see around me I think of as fireproof borders for controlled burning...

  3. ...just what I needed, july 4, 2011-celebrating Inter-dependence day