Friday, October 2, 2009

Hay for the Horses, a poem by Gary Snyder.

Post 338 - Gary Snyder was born in San Francisco in 1930 and has worked as a poet, essayist, travel writer, translator, and educator since then. He received his BA in anthropology at Reed College, Portland, and subsequently studied oriental languages at UC Berkley, and Linguistics at Indiana University. He's been awarded a Guggenheim fellowship in 1968, the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1974; the Bollingen Prize for Poetry in 1997; the John Hay Award for Nature Writing in 1997; and most recently the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize in 2008. He lived in Japan for 12-years and on his return, served for many years as a faculty member at the University of California, Davis, where he's now Professor Emeritus of English. A prominent environmental activist, Snyder's philosophy of life is, "Find your place on the planet. Dig in, and take responsibility from there."

Hay for the Horses by Gary Snyder.

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."

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