eco-Buddhism

"A willow tree among the streams":

Gary Snyder in Honolulu, March 2000 / March 2012

Gary Snyder's feet, March 19, 2012

“I did it, first of all.” That was Gary Snyder's response to our distinguished visiting writer, Shawna Yang Ryan, when she asked him where he got the idea for the poem he’d just read. The poem was “Changing Diapers." As she said, diaper poems are not what one expects from Snyder. Or perhaps this one is, given the sharp contrast between the father changing his son's diapers and the violent, nay imperial, context of the background, a poster of Geronimo holding a Sharp's repeating rifle. The poem goes like this:

     Changing Diapers

     How intelligent he looks!
          on his back
          both feet caught in my one hand
          his glance set sideways,
          on a giant poster of Geronimo
          with a Sharp's repeating rifle by his knee.

     I open, wipe, he doesn't even notice
          nor do I.
     Baby legs and knees
          toes like little peas
          little wrinkles, good-to-eat,
          eyes bright, shiny ears
          chest swelling drawing air,

     No trouble, friend,
          you and me and Geronimo
          are men.

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