Friday, 14 of June of 2024

Steve Sanfield – Sierra Song

“Steve Sanfield, an award-winning author, poet, folklorist, and professional storyteller, became the first full-time Storyteller-in-Residence in the United States in 1977 under the sponsorship of the California Arts Council.

He is the first American student of Zen teacher Kyozan Joshu Sasaki Roshi, the oldest actively-teaching Zen Master at 103 years of age. Called “the master of American haiku” by Michael McClure and “the master of myth, lore, and word-hoard” by Gary Snyder, Sanfield exhibits a strong Zen influence in his poetry, especially in his extremely tight phrasing and fierce skewering wit.” from Zen Poetry

Some of his Books: Adventures of High John the Conqueror (August House, 2006) Sierra Song (Tangram, 2003), Bit by Bit (Penguin/Putnam, 1999), In One Year & Out the Other (Larkspur Press, 1999), No Other Business Here (La Alameda Press, 1999), The Girl Who Wanted a Song (Harcourt Brace, 1996), The Great Turtle Drive (Knopf, 1996), American Zen by a Guy Who Tried It (Larkspur Press, 1994)
Here in the foothills
we find ourselves in constant battle
with the builders and the destroyers
the loggers and the officials
the old-timers and the new-comers
the hippies we never were.
We battle the burners and the trappers
the tramplers and the killers
and sometimes even ourselves.

Win one and find
it must be won again
Lose one and discover
it’s been lost forever.
Hold them off for awhile
then back into the field.
Someone will have the strength.

Who do we fight for?
Perhaps trees and grasses.
Save coyote and hawk
even whale and pelican
who do not live here.
Preserve and protect.

Work for the survival of a clan
that doesn’t need a name.
On and on and on
getting caught up in it all
forgetting to listen
to the murmur of these ancient hills.
I never wanted to be a warrior.

Steve Sanfield

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