Wednesday, November 14, 2018

"Gravelly Run" by A.R. Ammons

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
   by galaxy and cedar cone,
as if birth had never found it
and death could never end it:

the swamp’s slow water comes 
down Gravelly Run fanning the long 
   stone-held algal
hair and narrowing roils between 
the shoulders of the highway bridge:

holly grows on the banks in the woods there, 
and the cedars’ gothic-clustered
   spires could make
green religion in winter bones:

so I look and reflect, but the air’s glass 
jail seals each thing in its entity:

no use to make any philosophies here:
   I see no
god in the holly, hear no song from
the snowbroken weeds: Hegel is not the winter 
yellow in the pines: the sunlight has never 
heard of trees: surrendered self among
   unwelcoming forms: stranger,
hoist your burdens, get on down the road.

Source of the text - A.R. Ammons, Corsons Inlet: A Book of Poems.  Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1965, p. 64.

TJB: Colon flow. From a late Civil War site, the poet takes sides with the poetic/natural & sends the epistemological-carpetbagger-self packing.

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