Tag: gary snyder

Allen Ginsberg, “Returning to the Country for a Brief Visit”

poetry

Annotations to Amitendranath Tagore’s Sung Poetry

“In later days, remembering this I shall certainly go mad.”

Reading Sung poems, I think of my poems to Neal
dead a few years now, Jack underground
invisible – their faces rise in my mind.
Did I write truthfully of them? In later times
I saw them little, not much difference they’re dead.
The live in books and memory, strong as on earth.

“I do not know who is hoarding all this rare work.”

Old One the dog stretches stiff legged,
soon he’ll be underground. Spring’s first fat bee
buzzes yellow over the new grass and dead leaves.

What’s this little brown insect walking zigzag
across the sunny white page of Su Tung-p’o’s poem?
Fly away, tiny mite, even your life is tender –
I lift the book and blow you into the dazzling void.

“You live apart on rivers and seas…”

You live in apartments by rivers and seas
Spring comes, waters flow murky the salt wave’s covered with oily dung
Sun rises, smokestacks cover the roofs with black mist
winds blow, city skies are clear blue all afternoon
but at night the full moon hesitates behind brick.
How will all these millions of people worship the Great Mother?
When all these millions of people die, will they recognize the Great Father?

Cherry Valley, April 20, 1973

~ ~ ~

This is absolutely one of my favorite Ginsberg poems. People tend to focus on his work of the 40s and 50s as his most vital, and it’s easy to forget that when Jack and Neal died – when many people thought beat itself was dead – men like Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti (and so many more) carried on with the Zen beat message and poetry for generations. Ginsberg is gone now too, a tiny mite blown into the void, but even today Snyder and Ferlinghetti and others are as vital today as they ever were, perhaps more so. It would be a sad mistake for poetry and beat fans to focus only on the Six Gallery days and forget the beautiful lifetimes that followed.

Gary Snyder, “Riprap”

poetry

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.

– – –

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.

Gary Snyder, “Hay for Horses”

poetry

He had driven half the night
From far down San Joaquin
Through Mariposa, up the
Dangerous mountain roads,
And pulled in at eight a.m.
With his big truckload of hay
     behind the barn.
With winch and ropes and hooks
We stacked the bales up clean
To splintery redwood rafters
High in the dark, flecks of alfalfa
Whirling through shingle-cracks of light,
Itch of haydust in the
     sweaty shirt and shoes.
At lunchtime under Black oak
Out in the hot corral,
– The old mare nosing lunchpails,
Grasshoppers crackling in the weeds –
“I’m sixty-eight” he said,
“I first bucked hay when I was seventeen.
I thought, that day I started,
I sure would hate to do this all my life.
And dammit, that’s just what
I’ve gone and done.”