Pledge of Allegiance

May 22, 2007 by susan
Gary Snyder

I took a short hop out to Ojai, CA for a poetry festival put on by Mister Jimfest, featuring Sandra Alcossar, Maria Melendez, Sherman Alexie and Gary Snyder. And the damn stuff has a way of taking my head out of the news and into bigger spheres, like the natural world and geological time.

I can't do this justice now, behind on everything else, so let me quote Jimfest himself on the chosen poets, specifically, Gary Snyder.

“When we first cooked up this idea of a poetry festival in Ojai six years ago,” says organizer Jim Lenfestey, “the first theme that occurred to us was this idea of poetry as the voice of the earth, but we couldn't go that route without Gary Snyder. He is the touchstone for that theme and our first choice, although he wasn't available in the past. We have a responsibility to listen to and speak for those who are voiceless, and I don't just mean humans in places like Darfur, but also the plants and the trees and all that supports us. Our poets have a special ability to listen and hear and turn what they hear into words that humans can understand.”

That they do, and did. The festival, held out doors at the Libbey bowl, closed Saturday night with this old Snyder poem, the final pledge joyfully recited by all. Yeah, under the Live Oaks with a crescent moon and a flirty Venus dangling above, and spring peepers all around.

For All

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,
northern rockies.

Rustle and shimmer of icy creek waters
stones turn underfoot, small and hard as toes
cold nose dripping
singing inside
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
one ecosystem
in diversity
under the sun
With joyful interpenetration for all.

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Comments

Paul W. Miller (not verified) | May 22, 2007 - 8:43pm

not a comment on poetry but how about those chickenshit dems caving on the war funding?

reid's office, "the voice mailbox for Senator Reid is full, goodbye". 202) 224 - 3542, give em a hollar tomorrow and let him know what you think about his bullshit statements of how the democrats stood up

call Klobuchar and anyone else and tell them we do NOT like being punked!!

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susan | May 23, 2007 - 10:09am

Hey Paul, who besides Feingold did stand up? As you may have noticed, I've been a little out of it. SL

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paul Miller (not verified) | May 23, 2007 - 11:39am

pretty much Feingold solo and of course the candidates who need to do the right thing to try and get elected - no word from the junior Minnesota senator on how she will vote but I can guess

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MLS (not verified) | May 22, 2007 - 9:29pm

Years ago I lived in Ventura County so I am able to visualize being at Libbey Bowl while reading Synder's poem. Ahh,
so naturally refreshing. Thank you for sharing.

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