Back to an old favorite book.
My copy is so old that the back cover photograph
of the author with his then young family,
has Snyder in full view in white shirt and
necklace but his wife Masa and son have
disappeared almost entirely into the background.
Quietly I reread the chapters from the "Lookout's Journal,"
and the "Spring Sesshin at Shokoku-ji", plus Snyder's
bright witted and woodsman academia take on de Angulo's
Pure delight, Spring 1954. Gary Snyder is 24 years old.
Then one rainy day, both of us all caught up at home with work,
I noticed Sweetheart laying down with pretty blue skirt and bare legs
reading more from HP Lovecraft's The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath.
I was starting Snyder's chapter of "Tanker Notes." Who knows where Susan
is in her book but somewhere with Randolph Carter. I start to read aloud
to her from Tanker Notes which slightly irritates her, which is the
fun of things, so I suggest she read a passage from Lovecraft and I'll return
with a passage from Snyder and let's see how it goes. An hour goes by.
It's fascinating how well the two texts dovetail, both journeys.
Somewhere in the notes with Snyder, around Pago Pago, Samoa,
it's 1958, he and some of the ship's crew are foolin' with native girls.
Sweetheart looks over and asks, "What are you reading?"
I tell her.
She says, "I don't remember any of that when I read the book."
"Me neither!" I laugh.
We both read the book when it was released in 1969.
My copy now is first edition
cloth bound with homage to Edward Weston photograph
on the front cover, age-toned and a thoroughly loved book all around.
August Derleth calls the Lovecraft book,
"The finest weird fantasy ever written."
The thing of it is — thinking of Snyder's "Tanker Notes" —
Lovecraft loathed anything to do with the sea.