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Mark Olival-Bartley studied applied linguistics at Hawaii Pacific University, attaining B.A. and M.A. degrees in TESOL, and poetry at the City College of New York. He is now anatomizing the prosody of E. A. Robinson’s sonnets for his dissertation at Amerika Institut of LMU Munich, where also he edits a poetry weekly. His poems and translations have appeared in journals on both sides of the Atlantic. He is the resident poet at EcoHealth, where his science-themed verse is regularly featured, and a senior copyeditor of Review of International American Studies.


Above Pate Valley

by Gary Snyder

We finished clearing the last   
Section of trail by noon, 
High on the ridge-side 
Two thousand feet above the creek   
Reached the pass, went on 
Beyond the white pine groves,   
Granite shoulders, to a small 
Green meadow watered by the snow,   
Edged with Aspen—sun 
Straight high and blazing 
But the air was cool. 
Ate a cold fried trout in the   
Trembling shadows. I spied 
A glitter, and found a flake 
Black volcanic glass—obsidian— 
By a flower. Hands and knees   
Pushing the Bear grass, thousands   
Of arrowhead leavings over a   
Hundred yards. Not one good   
Head, just razor flakes 
On a hill snowed all but summer,   
A land of fat summer deer, 
They came to camp. On their   
Own trails. I followed my own   
Trail here. Picked up the cold-drill,   
Pick, singlejack, and sack 
Of dynamite. 
Ten thousand years.

Note:  A recitation can be heard here.

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