Week 21: Mid-August at Sourdough Mountain Lookout, by Gary Snyder

Mid-August at Sourdough Mountain Lookout

Down valley a smoke haze
Three days heat, after five days rain
Pitch glows on the fir-cones
Across rocks and meadows
Swarms of new flies.

I cannot remember things I once read
A few friends, but they are in cities.
Drinking cold snow-water from a tin cup
Looking down for miles
Through high still air.

Gary Snyder

The American poet Gary Snyder is a student of Zen; I’m not sure myself that Zen meditation is any more than just another name for the kind of transcendent awareness that has always been the aim and mark of the poet, but if it helps him to poems like this serene vision, good luck to it.


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