Mother Earth: Her Whales
by Gary Snyder


An owl winks in the shadows
A lizard lifts on tiptoe, brathing hard
Young male sparrow stretches up his neck,
big head, watching-

The grasses are working in the sun. Turn it green.
Turn it sweet. That we may eat.
Grow our meat.

Brazil says "soverign use of Natural Resources"
Thirty thousand kinds of unknown plants.
The living actual people of the jungle
sold and tortured-
And a robot in a suit who peddles a delusion called "Brazil"
can speak for them?

The whales turn and glisten, plunge
and sound and rise again,
Hanging over subtly darkening deeps
Flowing like breathing planets
in the sparkling whorls of
living light-

And Japan quibbles for words on
what kinds of whales they can kill?
A once- great Buddhist nation
dribbles methyl mercury
like gonorrhea
in the sea.

Pere David's Deer, the Elaphure,
lived in the tule marshes of the Yellow River
Two thousand years ago- and lost its home to rice-
The forests of Lo- yang were logged and all the silt and sand flowed down,
and gone, by 1200 AD-

Wild geese hatched out in Siberia
head south over basins of the Yang, the Huang,
what we call "China"
On flyways they have used a million years.
Ah China, where are the tigers, the wild boars,
the monkeys,
like the snows of yesteryear
Gone in a mist, a flash, and the dry hard ground
Is parking space for fifty thousand trucks.
Is man most precious of all things?
- then let us love him, and his brothers, all those
Fading living beings-

North America, Turtle Island, taken by invaders
who wage war around the world.
May ants, may abalone, otters, wolves and elk
Rise! and pull away their giving
from the robot nations.

Solidarity. The People.
Standing Tree People!
Flying Bird People!
Swimming Sea People!
Four- legged, two- legged people!

How can the head- heavy power- hungry politic scientist
Government two- world Capitialist- Imperialist
Third- world Communist paper- shuffling male
non- farmer jet- set bureaucrats
Speak for the green of the leaf? Speak for the soil?

(Ah Margaret Mead.... do you sometimes dream of Samoa?)

The robots argue how to parcel out Mother Earth
To last a little longer
like vultures flapping
Belching, gurgling,
near a dying doe.

"In yonder field a slain knight lies-
We'll fly to him and eat his eyes
with a down
derry derry derry down down."

An Owl winks in the shadow
A lizard lifts on tiptoe
breathing hard
The whales turn and glisten
plunge and
Sound, and rise again
Flowing like breathing planets

In the sparkling whorls

Of living light.