Poetry

Gary Snyder – For the Children

stay together
learn the flowers
go light

– Gary Snyder


‘Teach the children,’ wrote Mary Oliver in her essay on her relationship with environment; ‘Show them daisies and the pale hepatica. Teach them the taste of sassafras and wintergreen.’ With a global ecological crisis underway and looming large, Gary Snyder’s attention in his poem For the Children also turns to the future, to a place where, several generations from now, peace might be found in the healing of nature when valleys and pastures reappear in the wake of our enlightenment as a race. Snyder acknowledges the hills we will need to climb, then strips the core of his message down to the most basic language possible—words comprehensible even to children: stay together / learn the flowers / go light.


For the Children

The rising hills, the slopes,
of statistics
lie before us.
the steep climb
of everything, going up,
up, as we all
go down.

In the next century
or the one beyond that,
they say,
are valleys, pastures,
we can meet there in peace
if we make it.

To climb these coming crests
one word to you, to
you and your children:

stay together
learn the flowers
go light

Gary Snyder
From: Turtle Island


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