Seaman’s Ditty

By Gary Snyder b. 1930 Gary Snyder
I’m wondering where you are now
Married, or mad, or free:
Wherever you are you’re likely glad,
But memory troubles me.

We could’ve had us children,
We could’ve had a home—
But you thought not, and I thought not,
And these nine years we roam.

Today I worked in the deep dark tanks,
And climbed out to watch the sea:
Gulls and salty waves pass by,
And mountains of Araby.

I’ve travelled the lonely oceans
And wandered the lonely towns.
I’ve learned a lot and lost a lot,
And proved the world was round.

Now if we’d stayed together,
There’s much we’d never’ve known—
But dreary books and weary lands
Weigh on me like a stone.
Indian Ocean, 1959

Gary Snyder, “Seaman’s Ditty” from Left Out in the Rain: New Poems 1947-1985. Copyright © 1986 by Gary Snyder. Reprinted by permission of Counterpoint Press.

Source: No Nature: New and Selected Poems (1992)

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Poet Gary Snyder b. 1930

Subjects Nature, Living, Separation & Divorce, Seas, Rivers, & Streams

Poetic Terms Common Measure, Rhymed Stanza

 Gary  Snyder

Biography

Gary Snyder began his career in the 1950s as a noted member of the “Beat Generation,” though he has since explored a wide range of social and spiritual matters in both poetry and prose. Snyder’s work blends physical reality and precise observations of nature with inner insight received primarily through the practice of Zen Buddhism. While Snyder has gained attention as a spokesman for the preservation of the natural world and . . .

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SUBJECT Nature, Living, Separation & Divorce, Seas, Rivers, & Streams

Poetic Terms Common Measure, Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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