Gary Snyder
(b. May 8, 1930)

Poetry on Gratitude

Gary Snyder:

"Prayer for the Great Family"
from Turtle Island (1974)

Edited by Peter Y. Chou

Prayer for the Great Family

Gratitude to Mother Earth, sailing through night and day—
        and to her soil: rich, rare and sweet
                            in our minds so be it.

Gratitude to Plants, the sun-facing, light-changing leaf
        and fine root-hairs; standing still through wind
        and rain; their dance is in the flowering spiral grain
                            in our minds so be it.

Gratitude to Air, bearing the soaring Swift and silent
        Owl at dawn. Breath of our song
        clear spirit breeze
                            in our minds so be it.

Gratitude to Wild Beings, our brothers, teaching secrets,
        freedoms, and ways; who share with us their milk;
        self-complete, brave and aware
                            in our minds so be it.

Gratitude to Water: clouds, lakes, rivers, glaciers;
        holding or releasing; streaming through all
        our bodies salty seas
                            in our minds so be it.

Gratitude to the Sun: blinding pulsing light through
        trunks of trees, through mists, warming caves where
        bears and snakes sleep— he who wakes us—
                            in our minds so be it.

Gratitude to the Great Sky
        who holds billions of stars— and goes yet beyond that—
        beyond all powers, and thoughts
        and yet is within us—
        Grandfather Space.
        The Mind is his Wife.
                            so be it.

                                                        after a Mohawk prayer

Gary Snyder, Turtle Island
New Directions, New York, 1974, pp. 24-25


Web Links:
UC Davis: Gary Snyder
Brief Biography
Academy of American Poets: Gary Snyder
Modern American Poetry: Gary Snyder
The Beat Page: Gary Snyder
Wikipedia: Gary Snyder
May 8: Gary Snyder Birthday
Keith Parkins: Gary Snyder Quotes
Interview with Gary Snyder
Gary Snyder Quote on Peace
Poems at Gary Snyder Workshop
Mu Ch'i's Six Persimmons & Gary Snyder's "The Persimmons"
Analysis: Gary Snyder's Mountains and Rivers Without End

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© Peter Y. Chou,
P.O. Box 390707, Mountain View, CA 94039
email: (2-14-2006)