stay together/learn the flowers/go light

Dear readers,

Welcome to another year of National Poetry Month postings. The hiatus is over. Today felt like the right moment to renew my commitment to sharing verse with all of you. During this incredibly surreal time that’s unfolded around all of us, poetry has been the only literary form I can focus on after tearing my eyes away from the news. Although I can’t visit the library to sleuth for gems as I’ve done in the past decade of posts, I hope you’ll find something that resonates, regardless of whether it’s new or one I’ve shared before. If you’d like to receive the poem in your inbox this month, feel free to subscribe on the right.

I also hope that wherever and whenever you read this, you and your loved ones are doing as well as possible. In an effort to practice distant socializing while we’re all so far apart, perhaps you can share a poem or two with someone this month, starting with this one by the wonderful Gary Snyder (1930-).

neighborhood wildflowers
neighborhood flowers–March 31, 2020.

“For the Children”

The rising hills, the slopes,
of statistics
lie before us.
The steep climb
of everything, going up,
up, as we all
go down.

In the next century
or the one beyond that,
they say,
are valley, pastures,
we can meet there in peace
if we make it.

To climb these coming crests
one word to you, to
you and your children:

stay together
learn the flowers
go light

[From Turtle Island by Gary Snyder]


go for a hungry dream

“As a poet, I hold the most archaic values on earth. They go back to the late Paleolithic: the fertility of the soil, the magic of animals, the power-vision in solitude, the terrifying initiation and rebirth; the love and ecstasy of the dance, the common work of the tribe. I try to hold both history and wilderness in mind, that my poems may approach the true measure of things and stand against the unbalance and ignorance of our times.”

–Gary Snyder

I’m looking forward to hearing the wonderfully talented Gary Snyder(1930- ) read his work tonight and thought I’d share just one of his poems with all of you who can’t be there.

“Old Bones”
Out there walking round, looking out for food,
a rootstock, a birdcall, a seed that you can crack
plucking, digging, snaring, snagging,
         barely getting by,
no food out there on dusty slopes of scree—
carry some—look for some,
go for a hungry dream.
Deer bone, Dall sheep,
         bones hunger home.
Out there somewhere
a shrine for the old ones,
the dust of the old bones,
         old songs and tales.
What we ate—who ate what—
         how we all prevailed.

from Mountains and Rivers Without End