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Best Famous A R Ammons Poems

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by A R Ammons |

An Improvisation For Angular Momentum

 Walking is like
imagination, a
single step
dissolves the circle
into motion; the eye here
and there rests
on a leaf,
gap, or ledge,
everything flowing
except where
sight touches seen:
stop, though, and
reality snaps back
in, locked hard,
forms sharply
themselves, bushbank,
dentree, phoneline,
definite, fixed,
the self, too, then
caught real, clouds
and wind melting
into their directions,
breaking around and
over, down and out,
motions profound,
alive, musical!

Perhaps the death mother like the birth mother
does not desert us but comes to tend
and produce us, to make room for us
and bear us tenderly, considerately,
through the gates, to see us through,
to ease our pains, quell our cries,
to hover over and nestle us, to deliver
us into the greatest, most enduring
peace, all the way past the bother of
recollection,
beyond the finework of frailty,
the mishmash house of the coming & going,
creation's fringes,
the eddies and curlicues


by A R Ammons |

Crowride

 When the crow
lands, the
tip of the sprung spruce

bough weighs
so low, the
system so friction-free,

the bobbing lasts
way past any
interest in the subject.


by A R Ammons |

The City Limits

 When you consider the radiance, that it does not withhold
itself but pours its abundance without selection into every
nook and cranny not overhung or hidden; when you consider

that birds' bones make no awful noise against the light but
lie low in the light as in a high testimony; when you consider
the radiance, that it will look into the guiltiest

swervings of the weaving heart and bear itself upon them,
not flinching into disguise or darkening; when you consider
the abundance of such resource as illuminates the glow-blue

bodies and gold-skeined wings of flies swarming the dumped
guts of a natural slaughter or the coil of shit and in no
way winces from its storms of generosity; when you consider

that air or vacuum, snow or shale, squid or wolf, rose or lichen,
each is accepted into as much light as it will take, then
the heart moves roomier, the man stands and looks about, the

leaf does not increase itself above the grass, and the dark
work of the deepest cells is of a tune with May bushes
and fear lit by the breadth of such calmly turns to praise.


by A R Ammons |

Recovery

 All afternoon
the tree shadows, accelerating,
lengthened
till
sunset
shot them black into infinity:
next morning
darkness
returned from the other
infinity and the
shadows caught ground
and through the morning, slowing,
hardened into noon.


by A R Ammons |

So I Said I Am Ezra

 So I said I am Ezra
and the wind whipped my throat
gaming for the sounds of my voice
 I listened to the wind
go over my head and up into the night
Turning to the sea I said
 I am Ezra
but there were no echoes from the waves
The words were swallowed up
 in the voice of the surf
or leaping over the swells
lost themselves oceanward
 Over the bleached and broken fields
I moved my feet and turning from the wind
 that ripped sheets of sand
 from the beach and threw them
 like seamists across the dunes
swayed as if the wind were taking me away
and said
 I am Ezra
As a word too much repeated
falls out of being
so I Ezra went out into the night
like a drift of sand
and splashed among the windy oats
that clutch the dunes
of unremembered seas


by A R Ammons |

Shit List; Or Omnium-gatherum Of Diversity Into Unity

 You'll rejoice at how many kinds of shit there are:
gosling shit (which J.
Williams said something was as green as), fish shit (the generality), trout shit, rainbow trout shit (for the nice), mullet shit, sand dab shit, casual sloth shit, elephant shit (awesome as process or payload), wildebeest shit, horse shit (a favorite), caterpillar shit (so many dark kinds, neatly pelleted as mint seed), baby rhinoceros shit, splashy jaybird shit, mockingbird shit (dive-bombed with the aim of song), robin shit that oozes white down lawnchairs or down roots under roosts, chicken shit and chicken mite shit, pelican shit, gannet shit (wholesome guano), fly shit (periodic), cockatoo shit, dog shit (past catalog or assimilation), cricket shit, elk (high plains) shit, and tiny scribbled little shrew shit, whale shit (what a sight, deep assumption), mandril shit (blazing blast off), weasel shit (wiles' waste), gazelle shit, magpie shit (total protein), tiger shit (too acid to contemplate), moral eel and manta ray shit, eerie shark shit, earthworm shit (a soilure), crab shit, wolf shit upon the germicidal ice, snake shit, giraffe shit that accelerates, secretary bird shit, turtle shit suspension invites, remora shit slightly in advance of the shark shit, hornet shit (difficult to assess), camel shit that slaps the ghastly dry siliceous, frog shit, beetle shit, bat shit (the marmoreal), contemptible cat shit, penguin shit, hermit crab shit, prairie hen shit, cougar shit, eagle shit (high totem stuff), buffalo shit (hardly less lofty), otter shit, beaver shit (from the animal of alluvial dreams)—a vast ordure is a broken down cloaca—macaw shit, alligator shit (that floats the Nile along), louse shit, macaque, koala, and coati shit, antelope shit, chuck-will's-widow shit, alpaca shit (very high stuff), gooney bird shit, chigger shit, bull shit (the classic), caribou shit, rasbora, python, and razorbill shit, scorpion shit, man shit, laswing fly larva shit, chipmunk shit, other-worldly wallaby shit, gopher shit (or broke), platypus shit, aardvark shit, spider shit, kangaroo and peccary shit, guanaco shit, dolphin shit, aphid shit, baboon shit (that leopards induce), albatross shit, red-headed woodpecker (nine inches long) shit, tern shit, hedgehog shit, panda shit, seahorse shit, and the shit of the wasteful gallinule.


by A R Ammons |

Still

 I said I will find what is lowly
and put the roots of my identity
down there:
each day I'll wake up
and find the lowly nearby,
a handy focus and reminder,
a ready measure of my significance,
the voice by which I would be heard,
the wills, the kinds of selfishness
I could
freely adopt as my own:

but though I have looked everywhere,
I can find nothing
to give myself to:
everything is

magnificent with existence, is in 
surfeit of glory:
nothing is diminished,
nothing has been diminished for me:

I said what is more lowly than the grass:
ah, underneath,
a ground-crust of dry-burnt moss:
I looked at it closely
and said this can be my habitat: but
nestling in I
found
below the brown exterior
green mechanisms beyond the intellect
awaiting resurrection in rain: so I got up

and ran saying there is nothing lowly in the universe:
I found a beggar:
he had stumps for legs: nobody was paying
him any attention: everybody went on by:
I nestled in and found his life:
there, love shook his body like a devastation:
I said
though I have looked everywhere
I can find nothing lowly
in the universe:

I whirled though transfigurations up and down,
transfigurations of size and shape and place:

at one sudden point came still,
stood in wonder:
moss, beggar, weed, tick, pine, self, magnificent
with being!


by A R Ammons |

Called Into Play

 Fall fell: so that's it for the leaf poetry:
some flurries have whitened the edges of roads

and lawns: time for that, the snow stuff: &
turkeys and old St.
Nick: where am I going to find something to write about I haven't already written away: I will have to stop short, look down, look up, look close, think, think, think: but in what range should I think: should I figure colors and outlines, given forms, say mailboxes, or should I try to plumb what is behind what and what behind that, deep down where the surface has lost its semblance: or should I think personally, such as, this week seems to have been crafted in hell: what: is something going on: something besides this diddledeediddle everyday matter-of-fact: I could draw up an ancient memory which would wipe this whole presence away: or I could fill out my dreams with high syntheses turned into concrete visionary forms: Lucre could lust for Luster: bad angels could roar out of perdition and kill the AIDS vaccine not quite perfected yet: the gods could get down on each other; the big gods could fly in from nebulae unknown: but I'm only me: I have 4 interests--money, poetry, sex, death: I guess I can jostle those.
.
.
.


by A R Ammons |

Eyesight

 It was May before my
attention came
to spring and

my word I said
to the southern slopes
I've

missed it, it
came and went before
I got right to see:

don't worry, said the mountain,
try the later northern slopes
or if

you can climb, climb
into spring: but
said the mountain

it's not that way
with all things, some
that go are gone


by A R Ammons |

Identity

 1) An individual spider web
identifies a species:

an order of instinct prevails
 through all accidents of circumstance,
  though possibility is
high along the peripheries of
spider
   webs:
   you can go all
  around the fringing attachments

  and find
disorder ripe,
entropy rich, high levels of random,
 numerous occasions of accident:

2) the possible settings
of a web are infinite:

 how does
the spider keep
  identity
 while creating the web
 in a particular place?

 how and to what extent
  and by what modes of chemistry
  and control?

it is
wonderful
 how things work: I will tell you
   about it
   because

it is interesting
and because whatever is
moves in weeds
 and stars and spider webs
and known
   is loved:
  in that love,
  each of us knowing it,
  I love you,

for it moves within and beyond us,
  sizzles in
to winter grasses, darts and hangs with bumblebees
by summer windowsills:

   I will show you
the underlying that takes no image to itself,
 cannot be shown or said,
but weaves in and out of moons and bladderweeds,
   is all and
 beyond destruction
 because created fully in no
particular form:

   if the web were perfectly pre-set,
   the spider could
  never find
  a perfect place to set it in: and

   if the web were
perfectly adaptable,
if freedom and possibility were without limit,
   the web would
lose its special identity:

 the row-strung garden web
keeps order at the center
where space is freest (intersecting that the freest
  "medium" should
  accept the firmest order)

and that
order
   diminishes toward the
periphery
 allowing at the points of contact
  entropy equal to entropy.