The Poet as Energonomist

24 November 2007 at 1:27 am 1 comment

I just read Gary Snyder’s essay in the November 2007 issue of Shambhala Sun, titled “Writers and the War Against Nature.”  At one point he writes about reading science books on ecology and biology:

All those essays analyzing food chains and food webs–this was a science, I realized, dealing with energy exchange and the natural hierarchies of various living systems.  ‘When energy passes through a system, it tends to organize that system,’ someone wrote.  It finally came to me that this was about ‘eating each other,’ almost as a sacrament.  I wrote my first truly ecological poem, which explores the essential qualities of human foods:

THE SONG OF THE TASTE

Eating the living germs of grasses
Eating the ova of large birds
the fleshy sweetness packed around
the sperm of swaying trees

The muscles of the flanks and thighs of soft-voiced cows
the bounce in the lamb’s leap
the swish in the ox’s tail

Eating roots grown swoll
inside the soil.

Drawing on life of living
clustered points of light spun out of space
hidden in the grape.

Eating each other’s seed
eating
ah, each other.

Kissing the lover in the mouth of bread:
lip to lip.

I need to read more of this man’s work…

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Entry filed under: energonomics, poetry.

Tiny Energies Ideas as Lightning Rods

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. harvey  |  29 November 2007 at 4:02 am

    Snyder is a fascinating poet. Although he loves images and the ‘direct experience’ he’s also not afraid to write intellectual poetry that reflects upon ecologies, politics, spiritual paths and how we generally make and see the world. And the lines are pretty good too!

    Reply

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