A. R. Ammons: “Gravelly Run”

A winter’s dream, © by MagicAttic88

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.
A. R. Ammons


~ by matt on 12 January 2010.

One Response to “A. R. Ammons: “Gravelly Run””

  1. Having remembered the line “Hegel is not the winter yellow in the pines”, having remembered it was Ammons, having remembered all this while reading Kripcke’s “Naming and Necessity,” I could not for the life of me remember the name of the poem. I turned 53 last month and am terrified of my potential for future memory loss, especially as it concerns names, most signficantly, that it concerns the name of such a masterpiece!

    So I’m deeply thankful to my friend Tom (a year older than me!) who recalled “Gravelly Run” instantly. Having posted this poem, along with MagicAttic88’s image, somehow I feel it’s safe now….

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Natalie E. Illum...

is a poet, performer and disability activist. Bring her stumbling to your city.

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