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A particularly happy kind of life March 6, 2014

Posted by Jenny in Lifestyle, nature, poetry.
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Kalaloch beachI want to share a short poem by Gary Snyder.

THE NORTH COAST

Those picnics covered with sand

No money made them more gay

We passed over hills in the night

And walked along beaches by day.

Sage in the rain, or the sand

Spattered by new-falling rain.

That ocean was too cold to swim

But we did it again and again

I especially like the way there is no period at the end. That allows “again and again” to keep going onward into a cycle of happiness.

Think of the simplicity of this life. Think of all the things people think they need in their lives, and how those things are not present here.

This poem is more structured than most of Snyder’s work. It has a consistent three-beat pattern, and the second and fourth lines of the stanzas rhyme.   Many of his poems play with blank space on the page, odd typography. You could say they are free-range poems.

At the age of 83, he can look back on an extraordinarily adventurous and interesting life. Grew up on a farm, worked on a trail crew in Yosemite, studied Zen Buddhism in Japan in the Fifties before Zen became part of the counterculture, worked in the engine room of a Pacific tanker, went to India with Allen Ginsberg, and on and on.

In his poems you find the shadows of junipers, men chopping wood, a typhoon in a bamboo grove, truckloads of hay, a roadhouse in Alaska, sky over endless mountains

Cedar Creek Abbey Island Ruby Beach

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Comments»

1. Kent Hackendy - March 6, 2014

Puts me in mind of a mild November day strolling along the beach near Rimini, Italy – very few people around, which is they way I like it. (In the summer, it’s far too crowded for me.)

The message is a sound one indeed. I’ve actually developed an aversion to clutter in my life – both physical and mental – and strive to embrace purer and simpler pleasures.

Jenny - March 6, 2014

Can we say that the world we live in is more cluttered than ever before? Yes, I think it’s historically accurate to say that, due to the clutter of information and the clutter of consumer products.

Kent Hackendy - March 6, 2014

I absolutely agree.

2. gary howell - March 10, 2014

Perhaps I’ll remember his name (at least the Gary part) and find some of his poetry. Thanks for sharing it.

Also, I enjoyed your adventures with the “black” helicopter.


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