Mid-Month Meditation: “Song of the Taste” by Gary Snyder

In anticipation of the autumn equinox …

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
ah, each other.

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

— Gary Snyder

Note on the Author

Gary Snyder (1930- ) began his literary career in the 1950s as a noted member of the “Beat Generation”, and was the inspiration for the main character of Jack Kerouac’s novel The Dharma Bums. He then spent several years in Japan and was initiated into Shugendo, a form of ancient Japanese animism. He now espouses a kind of Buddho-anarchism. Snyder is perhaps most well known for his 1974 book of poetry, Turtle Island, in which the call “Back to the Pleistocene!” is first heard. Snyder joined Edward Abbey in inspiring some of the earliest extralegal environmental resistance.  Snyder also popularized the term “bioregionalism” .

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