Thursday, June 3, 2010

"Above Pate Valley" by Gary Snyder

Above Pate Valley

We finished clearing the last
Section of trail by noon,
High on the ridge-side
Two thousand feet above the creek
Reached the pass, went on
Beyond the white pine groves,
Granite shoulders, to a small
Green meadow watered by the snow,
Edged with Aspen — sun
Straight high and blazing
But the air was cool.
Ate a cold fried trout in the
Trembling shadows. I spied
A glitter, and found a flake
Black volcanic glass — obsidian —
By a flower. Hands and knees
Pushing the Bear grass, thousands
Of arrowhead leavings over a
Hundred yards. Not one good
Head, just razor flakes
On a hill snowed all but summer.
A land of fat summer deer,
They came to camp. On their
Own trails. I followed my own
Trail here. Picked up the cold-drill,
Pick, singlejack and sack
Of dynamite.
Ten thousand years.

Source of the text - Gary Snyder, Riprap and Cold Mountain Poems.  Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint Press, 2009.

TJB: This wilderness lyric, thick-detailed, skitters between paratactic fragments for narrative immediacy & plays with the pronouns We, I & They.

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