Gary Snyder is a poet and advocate for the preservation of wild places. Many of his poems, like the one below, are inspired by experiences he has had hiking in the wilderness. Try and write a poem in the style of "For All."
by Gary Snyder
Reprinted with permission from his book, No Nature: New and Selected Poems (New York: Pantheon Books, 1992).
Ah to be alive
on a mid-September morn
fording a stream
barefoot, pants rolled up,
holding boots, pack on,
sunshine, ice in the shallows,
Rustle and shimmer of icy creek waters
stones turn underfoot, small and hard as toes
cold nose dripping
creek music, heart music,
smell of sun on gravel.
I pledge allegiance
I pledge allegiance to the soil
of Turtle Island,
and to the beings who thereon dwell
under the sun
With joyful interpenetration for all.
Describe an experience you have had in nature (swimming in the ocean or a lake, hiking, looking at clouds, sunbathing, camping). Make a list of adjectives that describe your experience. Include descriptions of sounds, tastes, smells, temperature, textures, mood, as well as visual descriptions. Work from your list and create the first two stanzas of your short poem. Try to express an opinion or commentary in the third stanza that relates back to your nature experience. You may refer to "For All" as a guide, but make the poem your own!
Click here to see Gary Snyder featured in the Inspirations from the Forest exhibition.