Featured Title

No Nature
No Nature

 


Writer's Recommendations

Line
About the Author Poem
Picture of Author Author Name
Kisiabaton

      Beat-up datsun idling in the road
      shreds of fog
      almost-vertical hillsides drop away
      huge stumps fading into mist
      soft warm rain

Snaggy, forked and spreading tops, a temperate cloud-forest tree

    Chamaecyparis formosiana--
            Taiwan hinoki,
    hung-kuai    red cypress

That the tribal people call kisiabaton

      this rare old tree
      is what we came to see.

 


 

At Tower Peak

Every tan rolling meadow will turn into housing
Freeways are clogged all day
Academies packed with scholars writing papers
City people lean and dark
This land most real
As its western-tending golden slopes
And bird-entangled central valley swamps
Sea-lion, urchin coasts
Southerly salmon-probes
Into the aromatic almost-Mexican hills
Along a range of granite peaks
The names forgotten,
An eastward running river that ends out in desert
The chipping ground-squirrels in the tumbled blocks
The gloss of glacier ghost on slab
Where we wake refreshed from ten hours sleep
After a long day's walking
Packing burdens to the snow
Wake to the same old world of no names,
No things, new as ever, rock and water,
Cool dawn birdcalls, high jet contrails.
A day or two or million, breathing
A few steps back from what goes down
In the current realm.
A kind of ice age, spreading, filling valleys
Shaving soils, paving fields, you can walk in it
Live in it, drive through it then
It melts away
For whatever sprouts
After the age of
Frozen hearts. Flesh-carved rock
And gusts on the summit,
Smoke from forest fires is white,
The haze above the distant valley like a dusk.
It's just one world, this spine of rock and streams
And snow, and the wash of gravels, silts
Sands, bunchgrasses, saltbrush, bee-fields,
Twenty million human people, downstream, here below.


Excerpted from No Nature by Gary Snyder. Copyrightę 1992 by Gary Snyder. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this poem may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.