Thursday, July 13, 2006

Poverty-striken witty drunkard friend


The high-class families
Teach their virgin daughters
English, flowers, and Tea;
Culture of the East -- poor girls
Ride boys' bikes balancing noodles.

Brutal sergeants, vicious aesthetes,
the meeting
Of the worst of East and West,
Silly priests in temples
Far too fine for now.
Discipline for what end?
We gave up wisdom long ago,
Enlightenment is kicks
--but there is better.
Cold smooth wood floors
And doves, stone pools, moss
Under maples, silent frosty rooftiles
Slanting high -- what sense
The old boys made --
Confucius, Lao-tzu, Tu Fu, Sesshu
and the rest,
Through the centuries, peed off
By politicians in their robes.
Perhaps some flame remains.
I hope
Again some day
To hit the night road in America
Hitchhiking through dark towns
Rucksack on my back,
To the home of a
Poverty-stricken witty
Drunkard friend.

--Gary Snyder from Left Out in the Rain


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