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Danger on peaks
Only a few quotes here.
A Dent in a Bucket Hammering a dent out of a bucket a woodpecker answers from the woods
(Gary Snyder: Danger on peaks, p. 26)
Cool Clay In a swarm of yellowjackets a squirrel drinks water feet in the cool clay, head way down
(Gary Snyder: Danger on peaks, p. 28)
Winter Almond Tree over and down its root-rot clear to the air, dirt tilted trunk limbs and twiglets crashed on my mother's driveway —her car's barricaded up by the house— she called last night "I can't get out" I left at dawn —freezing and clear, a scatter of light snow from last week still little Stihl arborist's chainsaw (a thrasher) canvas knapsack of saw gear and head for town fishtailing ice slicks She's in the yard in a mustard knit hat and a shawl cerise from her prize heap of woolens from the world's Goodwills The tree's rotten limbs and whippy sprouts both in a damn near dead old frame my mother eighty-seven (still drives) worries the danger, the snarl of the saw chases her into the house in the fresh clear air I move with the limbs and the trunk crash in a sequence and piled as it goes, so, firewood rounds here, and the brushpile there. rake down the drive for the car —in three hours. Inside where it's all too hot drink chocolate and eat black bread with smoked oysters, Lois goes over her memory of my jobs as a youth that made me do this sort of work when I'm really "So intellectual. But you always worked hard as a kid." She tells me a story: herself, seventeen, part-time cleark in a store in Seattle, the boss called her in for a scolding. "how come you shopped there?" —a competitor's place. —her sister worked there (my Aunt Helen) who could get her a discount as good as what they had here. The boss said "o.k. That's o.k. then," and Lois said "also it's time for a raise." I asked did you get it? "I did." So many hours at this chair hearing tales of the years. "I was skinny. So thin." With her great weight now. "Thank you son for the tree. You did it quick too. The neighbors will say He came right away." Well I needed a change. A few rounds of sound almond wood — maybe my craft friend Holly will want them you won't be just firewood— a bowl or a salad fork old down almond tree
(Gary Snyder: Danger on peaks, p. 53)
Doctor Coyote When He Had a Problem Doctor Coyote when he had a problem took a dump. On the grass, asked his turds where they lay what to do? They gave him good advice. He'd say "that's just what I thought too" And do it. And go his way.
(Gary Snyder: Danger on peaks, p. 59)
She Knew All About Art She knew all about art —she was fragrant, soft, I rode to her fine stone apartment, hid the bike in the hedge. —We met at an opening, her lover was brilliant and rich, first we would talk, then drift into long gentle love. We always made love in the dark. Thirty years older than me.
(Gary Snyder: Danger on peaks, p. 65)
For Carole I first saw her in the zendo at meal time unwrapping bowls head forward folding back the cloth as server I was kneeling to fill three sets of bowls each time up the line Her lithe leg proud, skeptical, passionate, trained by the heights by the danger on peaks
(Gary Snyder: Danger on peaks, p. 74)
After Bamiyan March 2001 The Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Hsüan Tsang described the giant, gleaming, painted carved-out Buddhas standing in their stone cave- niches at the edge of the Bamiyan Valley as he passed through there on foot, on his way to India in the sevent century CE. Last week they were blown up by the Taliban. Not just by the taliban, but by woman-and-nature-denying authoritarian worldviews that go back much farther than Abraham. Dennis Dutton sent this poem around: Not even under mortar fire do they flinch. The Buddhas of Bamiyan Take Refuge in the dust. May we keep our minds clear and calm and in the present moment, and honor the dust.
(Gary Snyder: Danger on peaks, p. 101)
Loose on Earth A tiny spark, or the slow-moving glow on the fuse creeping toward where ergs held close in petrol, saltpeter, mine gas, buzzing minerals in the ground, are waiting. Held tight in a few hard words in a dark mood, in an old shame. Humanity, said Jeffers, is like a quick explosion on the planet we're loose on earth half a million years our weird blast spreading — and after, rubble— millennia to weather, soften, fragment, sprout, and green again
(Gary Snyder: Danger on peaks, p. 103)