GARY SNYDER.

Today, wood s lot wishes Gary Snyder a happy birthday and provides the usual feast of links, beginning with a marvelous poem, “Why I Take Good Care Of My Macintosh Computer” (“Because it broods under its hood like a perched falcon/ Because it jumps like a skittish horse/ and sometimes throws me/ Because it is pokey when cold…”), which I would quote in full except that I was plunged into a nostalgic reverie by a much older poem, “Riprap,” which I have known ever since it served as the epigraph for my high school literary magazine (and if you ever dig up a copy of that, I’m gonna have to neuralize ya), and I’m going to quote it instead:

Riprap
Lay down these words
Before your mind like rocks.
    placed solid, by hands
In choice 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.

Oh, all right, here’s another:

Civilization
Those are the people who do complicated things.
    they’ll grab us by the thousands
    and put us to work.
World’s going to hell, with all these
    villages and trails.
Wild duck flocks aren’t
    what they used to be.
Aurochs grow rare.
Fetch me my feathers and amber

There are also some good Pynchon links and this philosophy paper on “Language and Meaning.” It can’t be very good philosophy because I can understand most of it, but I’m mentioning it here anyway because I like its central statement so much:

Usage is right. Usage wins. All language is folk language. All language is slang.

You tell ’em, John Gregg!

Comments

  1. thanks for civilisation …

  2. thanks for civilisation …

  3. aldiboronti says:

    Good poem. Its form reminds me of Christopher Smart’s Upon His Cat Jeoffrey, from Jubilate Agno. (Smart was insane at the time he wrote it).
    It begins:
    “For I will consider my Cat Jeoffrey
    For he is the servant of the Living God duly and daily serving him.
    For at the first glance of the glory of God in the East he worships in his way.
    For is this done by wreathing his body seven times round with elegant
    quickness.
    For then he leaps up to catch the musk, which is the blessing of God upon his
    prayer.
    For he rolls upon prank to work it in.
    For having done duty and received blessing he begins to consider himself.
    For this he performs in ten degrees . . ”
    Read the rest at
    http://www.engl.virginia.edu/enec981/dictionary/24smartM1.html

  4. I think more accurate would be to say that Christopher Smart was sane when he wrote it.

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