Submit Poems
Get Your Premium Membership

Best Famous Gary Snyder Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Gary Snyder poems. This is a select list of the best famous Gary Snyder poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Gary Snyder poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Gary Snyder poems.

Search for the best famous Gary Snyder poems, articles about Gary Snyder poems, poetry blogs, or anything else Gary Snyder poem related using the PoetrySoup search engine at the top of the page.

See Also:
Written by Gary Snyder | Create an image from this poem

At Tower Peak

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.
Written by Gary Snyder | Create an image from this poem

For All

For All

 Ah to be alive
 on a mid-September morn
 fording a stream
 barefoot, pants rolled up,
 holding boots, pack on,
 sunshine, ice in the shallows,
 northern rockies.

 Rustle and shimmer of icy creek waters
 stones turn underfoot, small and hard as toes
 cold nose dripping
 singing inside
 creek music, heart music,
 smell of sun on gravel.

 I pledge allegiance

 I pledge allegiance to the soil
 of Turtle Island,
 and to the beings who thereon dwell
 one ecosystem
 in diversity
 under the sun
 With joyful interpenetration for all.
Written by Gary Snyder | Create an image from this poem

Old Bones

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. 
Written by Gary Snyder | Create an image from this poem

Hay for the Horses

Hay for the Horses

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."
Written by Gary Snyder | Create an image from this poem

How Poetry Comes to Me

How Poetry Comes to Me

It comes blundering over the
 Boulders at night, it stays
 Frightened outside the
 Range of my campfire
 I go to meet it at the
 Edge of the light
Written by Gary Snyder | Create an image from this poem

There Are Those Who Love To Get Dirty

 There are those who love to get dirty
 and fix things.
They drink coffee at dawn, beer after work, And those who stay clean, just appreciate things, At breakfast they have milk and juice at night.
There are those who do both, they drink tea.
Written by Gary Snyder | Create an image from this poem

On Top

On Top

All this new stuff goes on top
 turn it over, turn it over
 wait and water down
 from the dark bottom
 turn it inside out
 let it spread through
 Sift down even.
 Watch it sprout.

 A mind like compost.
Written by Gary Snyder | Create an image from this poem

Axe Handles

 One afternoon the last week in April
Showing Kai how to throw a hatchet
One-half turn and it sticks in a stump.
He recalls the hatchet-head Without a handle, in the shop And go gets it, and wants it for his own.
A broken-off axe handle behind the door Is long enough for a hatchet, We cut it to length and take it With the hatchet head And working hatchet, to the wood block.
There I begin to shape the old handle With the hatchet, and the phrase First learned from Ezra Pound Rings in my ears! "When making an axe handle the pattern is not far off.
" And I say this to Kai "Look: We'll shape the handle By checking the handle Of the axe we cut with—" And he sees.
And I hear it again: It's in Lu Ji's We Fu, fourth century A.
D.
"Essay on Literature" - in the Preface: "In making the handle Of an axe By cutting wood with an axe The model is indeed near at hand.
" My teacher Shih-hsiang Chen Translated that and taught it years ago And I see: Pound was an axe, Chen was an axe, I am an axe And my son a handle, soon To be shaping again, model And tool, craft of culture, How we go on.
Written by Gary Snyder | Create an image from this poem

Riprap

 Lay down these words
Before your mind like rocks.
placed solid, by hands In coice 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.
Written by Gary Snyder | Create an image from this poem

Smoky the Bear Sutra

Smokey the Bear Sutra

Once in the Jurassic about 150 million years ago,
 the Great Sun Buddha in this corner of the Infinite
 Void gave a Discourse to all the assembled elements
 and energies: to the standing beings, the walking beings,
 the flying beings, and the sitting beings -- even grasses,
 to the number of thirteen billion, each one born from a
 seed, assembled there: a Discourse concerning
 Enlightenment on the planet Earth. 

 "In some future time, there will be a continent called
 America. It will have great centers of power called
 such as Pyramid Lake, Walden Pond, Mt. Rainier, Big Sur,
 Everglades, and so forth; and powerful nerves and channels
 such as Columbia River, Mississippi River, and Grand Canyon
 The human race in that era will get into troubles all over
 its head, and practically wreck everything in spite of
 its own strong intelligent Buddha-nature." 

 "The twisting strata of the great mountains and the pulsings
 of volcanoes are my love burning deep in the earth.
 My obstinate compassion is schist and basalt and
 granite, to be mountains, to bring down the rain. In that
 future American Era I shall enter a new form; to cure
 the world of loveless knowledge that seeks with blind hunger:
 and mindless rage eating food that will not fill it." 

 And he showed himself in his true form of 


SMOKEY THE BEAR 

•A handsome smokey-colored brown bear standing on his hind legs, showing that he is aroused and
 watchful. 


•Bearing in his right paw the Shovel that digs to the truth beneath appearances; cuts the roots of useless
 attachments, and flings damp sand on the fires of greed and war; 


•His left paw in the Mudra of Comradely Display -- indicating that all creatures have the full right to live to their limits and that deer, rabbits, chipmunks, snakes, dandelions, and lizards all grow in the realm of the Dharma; 


•Wearing the blue work overalls symbolic of slaves and laborers, the countless men oppressed by a
 civilization that claims to save but often destroys; 


•Wearing the broad-brimmed hat of the West, symbolic of the forces that guard the Wilderness, which is the Natural State of the Dharma and the True Path of man on earth: all true paths lead through mountains -- 


•With a halo of smoke and flame behind, the forest fires of the kali-yuga, fires caused by the stupidity of
 those who think things can be gained and lost whereas in truth all is contained vast and free in the Blue Sky and Green Earth of One Mind; 


•Round-bellied to show his kind nature and that the great earth has food enough for everyone who loves her and trusts her; 


•Trampling underfoot wasteful freeways and needless suburbs; smashing the worms of capitalism and
 totalitarianism; 


•Indicating the Task: his followers, becoming free of cars, houses, canned foods, universities, and shoes;
 master the Three Mysteries of their own Body, Speech, and Mind; and fearlessly chop down the rotten
 trees and prune out the sick limbs of this country America and then burn the leftover trash. 


Wrathful but Calm. Austere but Comic. Smokey the Bear will
 Illuminate those who would help him; but for those who would hinder or
 slander him, 


HE WILL PUT THEM OUT. 

Thus his great Mantra: 


Namah samanta vajranam chanda maharoshana
 Sphataya hum traka ham nam 


"I DEDICATE MYSELF TO THE UNIVERSAL DIAMOND
 BE THIS RAGING FURY DESTROYED" 

And he will protect those who love woods and rivers,
 Gods and animals, hobos and madmen, prisoners and sick
 people, musicians, playful women, and hopeful children: 

 And if anyone is threatened by advertising, air pollution, television,
 or the police, they should chant SMOKEY THE BEAR'S WAR SPELL: 


DROWN THEIR BUTTS
 CRUSH THEIR BUTTS
 DROWN THEIR BUTTS
 CRUSH THEIR BUTTS 

And SMOKEY THE BEAR will surely appear to put the enemy out
 with his vajra-shovel. 

•Now those who recite this Sutra and then try to put it in practice will accumulate merit as countless as the sands of Arizona and Nevada. 


•Will help save the planet Earth from total oil slick. 


•Will enter the age of harmony of man and nature. 


•Will win the tender love and caresses of men, women, and beasts. 


•Will always have ripe blackberries to eat and a sunny spot under a pine tree to sit at. 


•AND IN THE END WILL WIN HIGHEST PERFECT ENLIGHTENMENT. 

 thus have we heard. 


Written by Gary Snyder | Create an image from this poem

Kisiabaton

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. 
Written by Gary Snyder | Create an image from this poem

December At Yase

 You said, that October,
In the tall dry grass by the orchard
When you chose to be free,
"Again someday, maybe ten years.
" After college I saw you One time.
You were strange, And I was obsessed with a plan.
Now ten years and more have Gone by: I've always known where you were— I might have gone to you Hoping to win your love back.
You still are single.
I didn't.
I thought I must make it alone.
I Have done that.
Only in dream, like this dawn, Does the grave, awed intensity Of our young love Return to my mind, to my flesh.
We had what the others All crave and seek for; We left it behind at nineteen.
I feel ancient, as though I had Lived many lives.
And may never now know If I am a fool Or have done what my karma demands.
Written by Gary Snyder | Create an image from this poem

For Lew Welch In A Snowfall

 Snowfall in March:
I sit in the white glow reading a thesis
About you.
Your poems, your life.
The author's my student, He even quotes me.
Forty years since we joked in a kitchen in Portland Twenty since you disappeared.
All those years and their moments— Crackling bacon, slamming car doors, Poems tried out on friends, Will be one more archive, One more shaky text.
But life continues in the kitchen Where we still laugh and cook, Watching snow.
Written by Gary Snyder | Create an image from this poem

For/From Lew

 Lew Welch just turned up one day,
live as you and me.
"Damn, Lew" I said, "you didn't shoot yourself after all.
" "Yes I did" he said, and even then I felt the tingling down my back.
"Yes you did, too" I said—"I can feel it now.
" "Yeah" he said, "There's a basic fear between your world and mine.
I don't know why.
What I came to say was, teach the children about the cycles.
The life cycles.
All other cycles.
That's what it's all about, and it's all forgot.
"