This is a collection of discovery, of insight, and of vision. These poems see the roots of community in the family, and the roots of culture and government in the community. "In making the handle of an axe by cutting wood with an axe the model is indeed near at hand." In exploring this axiom of Lu Ji's, Gary Snyder continues: I am an axeAnd my son a handle, soonTo be shaping again, modelAnd tool, craft of culture, How we go on.Formally, the 71 poems in Axe Handles range from lyrics to riddles to narratives. The collection is divided into three parts, called "Loops, " "Little Songs for Gaia, " and "Nets, " each containing poems of disciplined clarity. Gary Snyder knows well the great power of silence in a poem, silence that allows the mind space enough to discover the magic of song.