Gary Snyder, one of my all-time favorite poets, has a birthday today. Here's a poem I heard him read when I was living in California, about another of my all-time favorites, Lew Welch. And yes, I got chills when I heard him read it, too.
Lew Welch just turned up one day,
live as you and me. "Damn, Lew" I said,
"you didn't shoot yourself after all."
"Yes I did," he said,
and even then I felt the tingling down my back.
"Yes you did, too," I said—"I can feel it now."
"Yeah" he said,
"There's a basic fear between your world and
mine. I don't know why.
What I came to say was,
teach the children about the cycles.
The life cycles. All the other cycles.
That's what it's all about, and it's all forgot."
-from Axe Handles, North Point Press, San Francisco, 1983 (p. 7)