Gary Snyder, “Riprap”


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
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.

– – –

For me reading Gary Snyder is sort of a soul-cleansing experience; he takes me out to the far parts of the universe and brings me back again, and so often leaves me alone, in solitude, right in the Northwest, in the pines and mountains, right there where I feel so peaceful. And then I’m back home.

Greg Brown, “The Train Carring Jimmy Rogers Home”
Stanley Kunitz, “Halley’s Comet”

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