WestWords Perfect Pair 08.08.2014

The American poet, essayist and environmentalist Gary Snyder was born in San Francisco in 1930. He’s often associated with the 1950’s Beat Generation of poets, a group who rejected the traditional values of Western society in favour of Eastern philosophies and culture. The group also included Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac. Snyder studied Literature, Anthropology and Asian Culture & Languages, and through his writing he conveys experiences and insights into the work he has done over the years as a lumberjack, mountain-trail maker, fire-lookout, translator and carpenter, among many other things. Thus, the relationship between man and nature is a theme that pervades his many collections of poetry, not least of which, Turtle Island, which won him the 1974 Pulitzer Prize For Poetry. Here is:

FOR THE CHILDREN
By Gary Snyder

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 valleys, 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

 

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