26 December 2005

A. R. Ammons

Christmas (the phoniness of it) always lands me in a foul mood, so I began reading The Snow Poems by A. R. Ammons. I have read more negative comments on this book than on his others. Naturally, I find The Snow Poems delectable. A few outcroppings:

[from "Ivy, a Winding)"]

        at three I realized
        that my interpersonal relationships
considered for example as a cottonball
of interweavings and
closeness (a warmth, as of a
mother-centered, father-peripheried
group) were going to be sheared off,
cut through
and that I was going to be a bit of
lint blowing in the irrelevancies of
dissociation: as I grew older
I learned this
more thoroughly:
I write for those who have
no comfort now and will never have any:
I'm delighted that the comfortless are
a minority and
that rosy tales amble otherwise for others:
        I'm not making a fuss:
        I note the determination:
        it is a strict script
written in the injustice of
necessity: I forgive
the injustice, nearly: I no longer cry
to be another, not myself, or seldom:
you who have no comfort are welcome here, here
with the chaff
alongside the abundant reaping, among
the weeds, after the gleaners:

[from "The Hieroglyphic Gathered, the Books"]

would a collection
of clarities
be clearer than a clarity
or as the collection
grew would the
single clarities remain
clear and
a great darkness commence
to surround
or would opposite lobes of clarity
annihilate themselves
into continuum emptiness: . . .

the good of images is
that they make no
statement and the bad
is that they make (evoke)
numberless statements:

[from "Light Falls Shadow and Beam through the Limbo"]
[for you Rush Limbaugh fans]

Light falls shadow and beam through the limbo
limbboughs, short and long mixtures,
staff and heading, balling the
boughs, cluster, white bass clefs
churning rotund
thunder and up there sparkling and
bellying out
skeins and scads of treble felicities,
cones and points:
tree as music in the light,
the scoring of the permanent
a presence not regular but hastening
or not like the imagination or
the wind . . .

and though we ourselves see and do not
know what we see and cannot tell why
we are here attracted to enchantment
and scriptures intermingling substance
and light—

The Snow Poems is out of print.

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