One granite ridge
A tree, would be enough
Or even a rock, a small creek,
A bark shred in a pool.
Hill beyond hill, folded and twisted   
Tough trees crammed
In thin stone fractures
A huge moon on it all, is too much.   
The mind wanders. A million
Summers, night air still and the rocks   
Warm.   Sky over endless mountains.   
All the junk that goes with being human   
Drops away, hard rock wavers
Even the heavy present seems to fail   
This bubble of a heart.
Words and books
Like a small creek off a high ledge   
Gone in the dry air.

A clear, attentive mind
Has no meaning but that
Which sees is truly seen.
No one loves rock, yet we are here.   
Night chills. A flick
In the moonlight
Slips into Juniper shadow:
Back there unseen
Cold proud eyes
Of Cougar or Coyote
Watch me rise and go.

  • Gary Snyder, "Piute Creek" from Riprap and Cold Mountain Poems. Copyright © 2009 by Gary Snyder.  Reprinted by permission of Counterpoint Press.

  • Source: Riprap and Cold Mountain Poems (Counterpoint Press, 2009)

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