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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)

  • Nature

Poet Bio

Gary Snyder
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. See More By This Poet

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