What You Should Know to Be a Poet
by Gary Snyder
all you can about animals as persons.
the names of trees and flowers and weeds.
names of stars, and the movements of the planets
and the moon.
your own six senses, with a watchful and elegant mind.
at least one kind of traditional magic:
divination, astrology, the book of changes, the tarot;
the illusory demons and illusory shining gods;
kiss the ass of the devil and eat shit;
fuck his horny barbed cock,
fuck the hag,
and all the celestial angels
and maidens perfum’d and golden–
& then love the human: wives husbands and friends.
children’s games, comic books, bubble-gum,
the weirdness of television and advertising.
work, long dry hours of dull work swallowed and accepted
and livd with and finally lovd. exhaustion,
the wild freedom of the dance, extasy
silent solitary illumination, entasy
real danger. gambles. and the edge of death.