Thinking about fall

“One should not talk to a skilled hunter about what is forbidden by the Buddha” -Hsiang-yen

*

A gray fox, female, nine pounds three ounces.
39 5/8″ long with tail.
Peeling skin back (Kai
reminded us to chant the Shingyo first)
cold pelt. crinkle; and musky smell
mixed with dead-body odor starting.

Stomach content: a whole ground squirrel well chewed
plus one lizard foot
and somewhere from inside the ground squirrel a bit of aluminum foil.

The secret.
and the secret hidden deep in that.

- Gary Snyder

3 thoughts on “Thinking about fall

  1. True story: I had a copy of some Snyder anthology with that in it. He was coming to Albuquerque to sign books in a sadly long- gone bookstore (the owner, now also gone, had Russ Chatham oils of the South Coast that he picked up out of Chathams’s trash when Russ left California for Montana.)

    I brought it up to Gary opened to that poem(he is a merry LITTLE guy), and said: “Do you still stand by that quote?” He said “I’ll sign my name”– and did, on the page.

    I later gave it to (writer) Tom McIntyre for a wedding present.

  2. Second thought: isn’t that quote used in front of still another poem, where “Drum” (Hadley?) shoots a curlew on a Baja beach and they eat it? While the poem you print is called “The Dead By the Side of the Road”? Haven’t had time to check all my Snyder, a large part of which is on a high shelf.

  3. In the collection I have (Turtle Island), they are 3 seperate poems – The Hudsonian Curlew, The Dead by the Side of the Road. and “One Should Not Talk…”.

    The Hudsonian Curlew


    The down
    i pluck from the
    neck of the curlew
    eddies and whirls at my knees
    in the twilight wind
    from sea.
    kneeling in sand

    and

    The Dead by the Side of the Road


    I never saw a Ringtail til I found one in the road:
    case-skinned it with the toenails
    footpads, nose, and whiskers on;
    it soaks in salt and water
    sulphuric acid pickle;

    she will be a pouch for magic tools.

    Turtle Island is in my hand because our summer reading book was Pollan’s In Defense of Food and I’ve been asked to lead a discussion on “Hunting, Food and Buddhism”. The Hudsonian Curlew is definitely going to be read and I was thinking about The Dead…, too – also considering The Way West, Underground (circumpolar bear culture for any readers not familiar with the poem) just because I love it.