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configurations - A. R. Ammons - matters_of_importance

About configurations - A. R. Ammons

Previous Entry configurations - A. R. Ammons Apr. 4th, 2007 @ 01:17 am Next Entry
Configurations
     A. R. Ammons
     Selected Poems 1951-1971



1


when November stripped
	the shrub,
		what stood
		out
in revealed space was
a nest
	hung
	in essential limbs


2


	how harmless truth
	is
	in cold weather
	to an empty nest


3


dry 
leaves
in 
the 
bowl,
	like wings


4


		summer turned light
		into darkness
		and inside the shadeful
		shrub
			the secret
			worked
			itself to life

icicles and waterpanes:
recognitions:

		at the bottom, knowledges
		and desertions


5


speech comes out,
	a bleached form,
nest-like:

			after the events of silence
			the flying away
		of silence
		into speech—


6


		the nest is held
		off-earth
by sticks;

		so, intelligence 
		stays
		out of the ground

erect on a 
brittle walk of bones:

		otherwise
		the sea,

		empty of separations


7


leaves
like wings
in the Nov
	  ember nest:

wonder where the birds are now that were here:
wonder if the hawks missed them:
wonder if
	  dry wings
	  lie abandoned,
	bodiless
	this 
	November:

   leaves—		out of so many
			a nestful missed the ground


8


I am a bush
I am a nest
I am a bird
I am a wind
I am a negg

  I is a bush, nest, bird, wind, negg
  I is a leaf

if I fall what falls:
the leaves fell and the birds flew away and winter came and


9


when
I
am		bringing
singing		those		home
,		two		again
summer 		birds
comes 
back


10


so what if
lots of
		unfathomable stuff
		remains,
		inconceivable distance,

		closed and open infinities:
so what if
all that, if
		thunderstorms spill the eggs,
		loosen the nest, strew it across
		galaxies of grass and weeds:

who cares what remains when
only the interior
		immaterial
		configuration—

		shape—
		mattered, matters, immaterial, unremaining


11


there is some relationship between
proximity 
to the earth and permanence:

	a shrub puts itself into and out of
	the earth at once

earth and air united by a stem’s 
polar meshes of roots and branches:

	earth
	shrub
	nest
	leaf
	bird

the bird is somewhere south, unoriented
   to these roots:
the leaves
      though they may not have wandered so far
   are random:

	earth
	shrub
	nest

goodbye, nest, if wind lifts you loose
goodbye, shrub, if ice breaks you down
goodbye,
goodbye


12


the shrub is nothing
	except part of my song
the bird I never saw is part of my song and
	nothing else:

(the leaves are a great many little notes I lost
	when I was trying to make the song
	that became my silence)


13


the cockbird longs for the henbird
which longs for the nest
	which longs for the shrub which
longs for the earth
which longs for the sun which longs for


14


inside there the woodmeat is saying
		please, please
		  let me put on my leaves
		  let me let the sap go

but the zero bark is saying
		hush, hush
		   the time is not right
		   it’s not the right time

the woodmeat is always right
but bark is knowing
Leave a comment
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From:proximoception
Date:May 16th, 2008 09:19 am (UTC)
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For real, negg?

I wonder if I ever read this.
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From:andalus
Date:May 16th, 2008 02:53 pm (UTC)
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for real negg

one of my favorites. reminded me when i read it somehow of A Map.
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From:proximoception
Date:May 17th, 2008 09:24 am (UTC)
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Reminded me of your stuff too, the lineation but also how it could be reduced to a simple line drawing. You did that in Symbology, I think?

Ammons isn't very well known even here in the Carolinas. Very curious; I prefer him to Eliot, Montale, all kinds of excellent people. Maybe even Yeats, in toto--Ammons wrote about a billion kickass short poems. Batting average is probably better than Stevens' even, though not his HR total.
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From:andalus
Date:May 19th, 2008 11:13 pm (UTC)
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yeah, i've always thought in terms of little diagrams, but it's so hard to do. it takes a sort of composed authority to manage an architectural poem since what's on the page is really just a lattice for a large thought that only maybe exists in the mind of the reader. I've lost quite a bit of that self-confidence since (which was also a weakness). Ammons, though, gives so little but gives so much, gives more than Stevens, easily. Stevens' erudition is demanding, insistent, while Ammons' is quiet, friendly, easy to overlook.
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