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Best Famous A R Ammons Poems

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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 | |

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 | |

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 | |

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 | |

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 | |

Mule Song

 Silver will lie where she lies
sun-out, whatever turning the world does,
longeared in her ashen, earless,
floating world:
indifferent to sores and greengage colic,
where oats need not
come to,
bleached by crystals of her trembling time:
beyond all brunt of seasons, blind
forever to all blinds,
inhabited by
brooks still she may wraith over broken
fields after winter
or roll in the rye-green fields:
old mule, no defense but a mule’s against
disease, large-ribbed,
flat-toothed, sold to a stranger, shot by a
stranger’s hand,
not my hand she nuzzled the seasoning-salt from.


by A R Ammons | |

Poetics

 I look for the way
things will turn
out spiralling from a center,
the shape
things will take to come forth in

so that the birch tree white
touched black at branches
will stand out
wind-glittering
totally its apparent self:

I look for the forms
things want to come as

from what black wells of possibility,
how a thing will
unfold:

not the shape on paper -- though
that, too -- but the
uninterfering means on paper:

not so much looking for the shape
as being available
to any shape that may be
summoning itself
through me
from the self not mine but ours.


by A R Ammons | |

Design

 The drop seeps whole
from boulder-lichen
or ledge moss and drops,

joining, to trickle,
run, fall, dash,
sprawl in held deeps,

to rush shallows, spill
thin through heights,
but then, edging,

to eddy aside, nothing
of all but nothing's
curl of motion spent.


by A R Ammons | |

Small Song

 The reeds give
way to the

wind and give
the wind away


by A R Ammons | |

Rapids

 Fall's leaves are redder than 
spring's flowers, have no pollen, 
and also sometimes fly, as the wind 
schools them out or down in shoals 
or droves: though I 
have not been here long, I can 
look up at the sky at night and tell 
how things are likely to go for 
the next hundred million years: 
the universe will probably not find 
a way to vanish nor I 
in all that time reappear.


by A R Ammons | |

When I Was Young the Silk

 When I was young the silk
of my mind
hard as a peony head
unfurled
and wind bloomed the parachute:

The air-head tugged me
up,
tore my roots loose and drove
high, so high

I want to touch down now
and taste the ground
I want to take in
my silk
and ask where I am
before it is too late to know


by A R Ammons | |

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 
space begins at our

heels, nearly rousing 
us loose: we look up 
or out so high, sight's

silk almost draws us away:
this is just a place:
currents worry themselves

coiled and free in airs 
and oceans: water picks 
up mineral shadow and

plasm into billions of 
designs, frames: trees, 
grains, bacteria: but

is love a reality we 
made here ourselves--
and grief--did we design

that--or do these, 
like currents, whine 
in and out among us merely

as we arrive and go:
this is just a place:
the reality we agree with,

that agrees with us, 
outbounding this, arrives 
to touch, joining with

us from far away:
our home which defines 
us is elsewhere but not

so far away we have 
forgotten it:
this is just a place.


by A R Ammons | |

Rivulose

 You think the ridge hills flowing, breaking
with ups and downs will, though,
building constancy into the black foreground

for each sunset, hold on to you, if dreams
wander, give reality recurrence enough to keep
an image clear, but then you realize, time

going on, that time's residual like the last
ice age's cool still in the rocks, averaged
maybe with the cool of the age before, that

not only are you not being held onto but where
else could time do so well without you,
what is your time where so much time is saved?


by A R Ammons | |

Release

 After a long
muggy
hanging
day
the raindrops
started so
sparse
the bumblebee flew
between
them home


by A R Ammons | |

Weathering

 A day without rain is like
a day without sunshine


by A R Ammons | |

Their Sex Life

 One failure on
Top of another


by A R Ammons | |

After Yesterday

 After yesterday
afternoon's blue
clouds and white rain
the mockingbird
in the backyard
untied the drops from
leaves and twigs
with a long singing.