Sorry, Snyder, but this wasn't my first choice. I spent all week looking for text of Adrienne Rich's "The Fact of a Doorframe," and a few others. But this one is really wonderful too. And if you follow the link, there's audio!

Night Song of the Los Angeles Basin BY GARY SNYDER

                                   Owl
                        calls,
                        pollen dust blows
               Swirl of light strokes writhing
               knot-tying light paths,

               calligraphy of cars.
Los Angeles basin and hill slopes Checkered with streetways. Floral loops Of the freeway express and exchange.

                  Dragons of light in the dark
                  sweep going both ways
                  in the night city belly.
                  The passage of light end to end and rebound,
                  —ride drivers all heading somewhere—
                  etch in their traces to night’s eye-mind

                  calligraphy of cars.
Vole paths. Mouse trails worn in On meadow grass; Winding pocket-gopher tunnels, Marmot lookout rocks. Houses with green watered gardens Slip under the ghost of the dry chaparral,

                  Ghost
                  shrine to the L. A. River
                  The jinja that never was there
                  is there.
                  Where the river debouches
                  the place of the moment
                  of trembling and gathering and giving
                  so that lizards clap hands there
                  —just lizards
                  come pray, saying
                  “please give us health and long life.”

                            A hawk,
                            a mouse.
Slash of calligraphy of freeways of cars.

                  Into the pools of the channelized river
                  the Goddess in tall rain dress
                  tosses a handful of meal.

                  Gold bellies roil
                  mouth-bubbles, frenzy of feeding,
                  the common ones, the bright-colored rare ones
                  show up, they tangle and tumble,
                  godlings ride by in Rolls Royce
                  wide-eyed in brokers’ halls
                  lifted in hotels
                  being presented to, platters
                  of tidbit and wine,
                  snatch of fame,

                           churn and roil,

                  meal gone   the water subsides.

                           A mouse,
                           a hawk.
The calligraphy of lights on the night

                   freeways of Los Angeles

                   will long be remembered.

                           Owl
                   calls;
                            late-rising moon.


cW:

nice formatting, Gary.


posted by cW: 1797 days ago