By Gary Snyder
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)
Gary Snyder was born in San Francisco, California, and is associated with the Pacific Northwest, the setting for much of his poetry. In 1956 he began an extended sojourn in Japan and India, where he studied Zen Buddhism in a monastery and visited sacred sites. His thoroughgoing interest in Asian philosophies and his concern for wild nature, meditative states, and alternative ways of living made him one of the most popular of American poets of the 1960s.
More Poems about Nature
What Women Are Made Of
We are all ventricle, spine, lung, larynx, and gut.
Clavicle and nape, what lies forked in an open palm;
we are follicle and temple. We are ankle, arch,
sole. Pore and rib, pelvis and root
and tongue. We are wishbone and gland and molar
Of Tribulation, these are They,
Denoted by the White.
— Emily Dickinson
in the split geode
a Santa’s grotto
every surface —
like sea urchins’ —
in the doorways
sleepers from the womb
to make of anything succulent