A. R. Ammons

A
A. R. Ammons
Finishing Up
I wonder if I know enough to know what it’s really like
to have been here: have I seen sights enough to give
seeing over: the clouds, I’ve waited with white
October clouds like these this afternoon often before and

taken them in, but white clouds shade other white
ones gray, had I noticed that: and though I’ve
followed the leaves of many falls, have I spent time with
the wire vines left when frost’s red dyes strip the leaves
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Coming to Sumer
Coming to Sumer and the tamarisks on the river
I Ezra with unsettling love
rifled the mud and wattle huts
for recent mournings
with gold leaves
and lapis lazuli beads
in the neat braids loosening from the skull
Looking through the wattles to the sun
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Dunes
Taking root in windy sand
is not an easy
way
to go about
finding a place to stay.

A ditchbank or wood's-edge
has firmer ground.

In a loose world though
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Figuring Belief
Praying answers prayer:
in the deep spells
of inquiry and hope,
a self
enabled to rise again
to the compromises
and the shattering caring
forms
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Reflective
I found a
weed
that had a

mirror in it
and that
mirror

looked in at
a mirror
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Substantial Planes
It doesn't
matter

to me
if

poems mean
nothing:

there's no
floor
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This
time will wash
away

so

clean not a
cry

will

be left in
it
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Hymn
I know if I find you I will have to leave the earth
and go on out
over the sea marshes and the brant in bays
and over the hills of tall hickory
and over the crater lakes and canyons
and on up through the spheres of diminishing air
past the blackset noctilucent clouds
where one wants to stop and look
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Mechanism
Honor a going thing, goldfinch, corporation, tree,
morality: any working order,
animate or inanimate: it

has managed directed balance,
the incoming and outgoing energies are working right,
some energy left to the mechanism,

some ash, enough energy held
to maintain the order in repair,
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In Memoriam Mae Noblitt
This is just a place:
we go around, distanced,
yearly in a star’s

atmosphere, turning
daily into and out of
direct light and

slanting through the
quadrant seasons: deep
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Swells
The very longest swell in the ocean, I suspect,
carries the deepest memory, the information of actions
summarized (surface peaks and dibbles and local sharp

slopes of windstorms) with a summary of the summaries
and under other summaries a deeper summary: well, maybe
deeper, longer for length here is the same as deep

time: so that the longest swell swells least; that
is, its effects in immediate events are least perceptible,
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Corsons Inlet
I went for a walk over the dunes again this morning
to the sea,
then turned right along
the surf
rounded a naked headland
and returned

along the inlet shore:

it was muggy sunny, the wind from the sea steady and high,
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For Edwin Wilson
Did wind and wave design the albatross's wing,
honed compliances: or is it effrontery to
suggest that the wing designed the gales and

seas: are we guests here, then, with all the
gratitude and soft-walking of the guest:
provisions and endurances of riverbeds,

mountain shoulders, windings through of tulip
poplar, grass, and sweet-frosted foxgrape:
are we to come into these and leave them as

they are: are the rivers in us, and the slopes,
ours that the world's imitate, or are we
mirrorments merely of a high designing aloof
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For Emily Wilson
Such a long time as the wave idling gathers
lofts and presses forward into the curvature
of the height before one realizes that the

tension completes itself with a fall through air,
disorganization the prelude to the meandering
of another gather and hurl, the necessary:

ah, what can one make to absorb the astonishment:
you should have seen me the merchant at market
this morning: the people ogled me with severe

goggles: maids, buying in manners and measures
beyond themselves, stared into my goods and
then grew horror-eyed: wives still as distant
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Gravelly Run
I don’t know somehow it seems sufficient
to see and hear whatever coming and going is,
losing the self to the victory
of stones and trees,
of bending sandpit lakes, crescent
round groves of dwarf pine:

for it is not so much to know the self
as to know it as it is known
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