Riprap By Gary Snyder

Lay down these words
Before your mind like rocks.
             placed solid, by hands   
In choice of place, set
Before the body of the mind
             in space and time:
Solidity of bark, leaf, or wall
             riprap of things:
Cobble of milky way,
             straying planets,
These poems, people,
             lost ponies with
Dragging saddles—
             and rocky sure-foot trails.   
The worlds like an endless   
             four-dimensional
Game of Go.
             ants and pebbles
In the thin loam, each rock a word   
             a creek-washed stone
Granite: ingrained
             with torment of fire and weight   
Crystal and sediment linked hot
             all change, in thoughts,   
As well as things.
Gary Snyder, “Riprap” from Riprap and Cold Mountain Poems. Copyright  © 2003 by Gary Snyder. Reprinted by permission of Shoemaker & Hoard Publishers.

Source: No Nature: New and Selected Poems (1992)

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