No Matter, Never Mind

by Gary Snyder

Original Language English

The Father is the Void
The Wife Waves

Their child is Matter.

Matter makes it with his mother
And their child is Life,
               a daughter.

The Daughter is the Great Mother
Who, with her father/brother Matter
               as her lover,

Gives birth to the Mind.

-- from Turtle Island, by Gary Snyder

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

Gary Snyder, like many of the Beat poets, has been strongly influenced by Buddhism and eastern spirituality -- and it shows in this brief poem.

The lines of this poem are really just a reformulation of a traditional eastern description of the Eternal as understood in the male and female roles that result in the manifestation of the universe.

The masculine aspect of the Eternal as an immense Void or no-thing-ness that contains the seed or potential of existence. The feminine counterpart is the emanation or shakti of the Eternal, that potential put into motion.

An analogy is sometimes made of the sun: the fire is the male, and the waves of light and heat that radiate from it are the female.

When the potential is carried by the waves of manifestation, the result is a child -- matter... and the drama of creation and awareness begins.

Recommended Books: Gary Snyder

Riprap and Cold Mountain Poems No Nature: New and Selected Poems Turtle Island The Gary Snyder Reader: Prose, Poetry and Translations Mountains and Rivers Without End
More Books >>

No Matter, Never