Treasure Island

Gary Snyder


Hay for the Horses


He had driven half the night
From far down San Joaquin
Through Mariposa, up the
Dangerous Mountain roads,
And pulled in at eight a.m.
With his big truckload of hay
behind the barn.
With winch and ropes and hooks
We stacked the bales up clean
To splintery redwood rafters
High in the dark, flecks of alfalfa
Whirling through shingle-cracks of light,
Itch of haydust in the
sweaty shirt and shoes.
At lunchtime under Black oak
Out in the hot corral,
---The old mare nosing lunchpails,
Grasshoppers crackling in the weeds---
"I'm sixty-eight" he said,
"I first bucked hay when I was seventeen.
I thought, that day I started,
I sure would hate to do this all my life.
And dammit, that's just what
I've gone and done."

Submitted: Monday, January 20, 2003

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  • Frank Avon (9/3/2014 1:22:00 PM)

    I must admit I have long known the name Gary Snyder but I have never known his poems. I was surprised to learn that he and Wendell Berry are friends and have been loyal correspondents for nearly fifty years. So I decided to check him out. This is the first poem of his that I read, and I see why they are friends. Snyder will be added to my long, long list of poets that interest me, maybe even to the diverse company of my favorite poets. (Report) Reply

  • Sathyanarayana M V S (4/30/2008 2:23:00 PM)

    this poem seems funny. but not so. It has deep undertones of what life forces on one so inevitably.
    Great poem

    sathya narayana (Report) Reply

  • Eric Paul Shaffer (6/28/2005 1:12:00 PM)

    One of Snyder's finest funny poems: this one shows that a good ear is an essential part of recognizing poetry. (Report) Reply

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