Old Bones

By Gary Snyder b. 1930 Gary Snyder
Out there walking round, looking out for food,
a rootstock, a birdcall, a seed that you can crack
plucking, digging, snaring, snagging,
         barely getting by,
 
no food out there on dusty slopes of scree—
carry some—look for some,
go for a hungry dream.
Deer bone, Dall sheep,
         bones hunger home.
 
Out there somewhere
a shrine for the old ones,
the dust of the old bones,
         old songs and tales.
 
What we ate—who ate what—
         how we all prevailed.

Gary Snyder, “Old Bones” from Mountains and Rivers Without End. Copyright © 2008 by Gary Snyder. Reprinted by permission of Counterpoint Press.

Source: Mountains and Rivers Without End (Counterpoint Press, 2008)

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Poet Gary Snyder b. 1930

Subjects Activities, Eating & Drinking, Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Nature, Landscapes & Pastorals

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 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 Activities, Eating & Drinking, Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Nature, Landscapes & Pastorals

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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