...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

August 30, 2006

Wednesday Is Poetry Day

What do you think about when you go for a walk? How does the mind work? It wanders along with your feet. The things you see along the path prompt your thoughts and vice versa. The transitions are invisible, unless you're paying attention, like today's poet. When you are ready, sometime today, take a walk with A.R. Ammons around Corsons Inlet. The poem is from 1965.

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,
crisp in the running sand,
    some breakthroughs of sun
  but after a bit

continuous overcast:

the walk liberating, I was released from forms,
from the perpendiculars,
    straight lines, blocks, boxes, binds
of thought
into the hues, shadings, rises, flowing bends and blends
          of sight:

                I allow myself eddies of meaning:
yield to a direction of significance
like a stream through the geography of my work:
   you can find
in my sayings
               swerves of action
               like the inlet's cutting edge:
       there are dunes of motion,
organizations of grass, white sandy paths of remembrance
in the overall wandering of mirroring mind:

but Overall is beyond me: is the sum of these events
I cannot draw, the ledger I cannot keep, the accounting
beyond the account:

in nature there are few sharp lines: there are areas of
    more or less dispersed;
disorderly orders of bayberry; between the rows
of dunes
irregular swamps of reeds
though not reeds alone, but grass bayberry, yarrow, all . . .
predominantly reeds:

I have reached no conclusions, have erected no boundaries,
shutting out and shutting in, separating inside
       from outside: I have
       drawn no lines:

manifold events of sand
change the dune's shape that will not be the same shape

so I am willing to go along, to accept
the becoming
thought, to stake off no beginnings or ends establish
      no walls:

by transitions the land falls from grassy dunes to creek
to undercreek: but there are no lines though
    change in that transition is clear
    as any sharpness: but "sharpness" spread out,
allowed to occur over a wider range
than mental lines can keep:

the moon was full last night: today, low tide was low:
black shoals of mussels exposed to the risk
of air
and, earlier, of sun,
waved in and out with the waterline, waterline inexact,
caught always in the event of change:
    a young mottled gull stood free on the shoals
    and ate
to vomiting: another gull, squawking possession, cracked a crab,
picked out the entrails, swallowed the soft-shelled legs, a ruddy
turnstone running in to snatch leftover bits:

risk is full: every living thing in
siege: the demand is life, to keep life: the small
white blacklegged egret, how beautiful, quietly stalks and spears
         the shallows, darts to shore
                  to stab —- what? I couldn't
    see against the black mudflats—a frightened
    fiddler crab?

         the news to my left over the dunes and
reeds and bayberry clumps was
         fall: thousands of tree swallows
         gathering for flight:
         an order held
         in constant change: a congregation
rich with entropy: nevertheless, separable, noticeable
       as one event,
               not chaos: preparations for
flight from winter,
cheet, cheet, cheet, cheet, wings rifling the green clumps
at the bayberries
   a perception full of wind, flight, curve,
   the possibility of rule as the sum of rulelessness:
the "field" of action
with moving, incalculable center:

in the smaller view, order tight with shape:
blue tiny flowers on a leafless weed: carapace of crab:
snail shell:
       pulsations of order
       in the bellies of minnows: orders swallowed,
broken down, transferred through membranes
to strengthen larger orders: but in the large view, no
lines or changeless shapes: the working in and out, together
       and against, of millions of events: this,
                so that I make
                no form of

orders as summaries, as outcomes of actions override
or in some way result, not predictably (seeing me gain
the top of a dune,
the swallows
could take flight—some other fields of bayberry
       could enter fall
       berryless) and there is serenity:

       no arranged terror: no forcing of image, plan,
or thought:
no propaganda, no humbling of reality to precept:

terror pervades but is not arranged, all possibilities
of escape open: no route shut, except in
   the sudden loss of all routes:

       I see narrow orders, limited tightness, but will
not run to that easy victory:
       still around the looser, wider forces work:
       I will try
    to fasten into order enlarging grasps of disorder, widening
scope, but enjoying the freedom that
Scope eludes my grasp, that there is no finality of vision,
that I have perceived nothing completely,
       that tomorrow a new walk is a new walk.

Posted by annika, Aug. 30, 2006 | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Poetry


I admire his work. It is a pity A.R. Ammons died (in 2001, it seems).

Posted by: Brenda on Aug. 30, 2006

I like:

broken down, transferred through membranes
to strengthen larger orders: but in the large view, no
lines or changeless shapes: the working in and out, together
and against, of millions of events: this,
so that I make
no form of

Posted by: Scof on Aug. 30, 2006