“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:
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.