3 Aug
Posted in: Poems
By    Comments Off on Never Too Late

Never Too Late

Starting the Spring Garden and Thinking of Thomas Jefferson
by Gary Snyder

Turning this cloddish soil still damp and cold
with a heavy curved crofters spade
finally I’ve read the life of Thomas Jefferson
here we are about the same age
— eighty — except I’m living alone with my dog
and spading a tiny spring garden
and he had hundreds of workers
on the farm and fixing the house while he
mostly wrote letters and thinking — thinking
true democracy is to help everyone
do for themselves. Which means
we must think with the help of the whole
neighborhood, bullshit detectors in place but
cleanly and clearly forgiving
— to be free is to get past too much lonely stubborn
deluded private thirst for what?
for things? for some small perk?
So give and take. Where was Jefferson in this — I wonder —
whacking clods, tossing clumps of winter grass roots
to the side
scooping out and heeling in some Asian aubergine
— the long thin kind you grill with grated ginger
Everyone free to decide to join in on the work
and the play
empowered to be free of “me”
in a world which both has and has not
hierarchy. But he had slaves
and never thought that through.
& Tom had friends like Madison and Adams
to honestly argue him down and explain
the cracks in his dream;
Now — out on the far west coast of the continent
this rough mountain pine tree land
two hundred years later,
putting another turn on
whatever he thought we could do
Tom Jefferson: never too late,
never be through,
you always can pick up a hoe —
let your people go —

Comments are closed.