“41” from Glare by A.R. Ammons

the strong want to live on the edge
but they are so strong they can

seldom find an edge anywhere: while,
alas, the weak inhabit edges everywhere

and seek strength anywhere to pull
back away into safety: how sad

that what we have is not what we want
and what we want we can’t find: if

you say what you have to say then you
have nothing to say: therefore the

unsaid is the lens of observation &
what will not tell itself will not

be done with telling: stripping is
what I do, keeling to this band of

paper, a fleet rig on a round-the-world
and back-around-again: it is so

arrogant to say it is not important:
imagine the gall, asking to be known

for nothing, or to be known for having
the gall to ask to be known for nothing:

what I want is not something out of
something–fairly easy–but something

out of nothing: a difficult, primal
figure: in what was space made: if

space closes up, what is left behind:
if this universe bloomed through some

integument from another universe,
where did that universe come from:

presence only annihilates these
troublesome questions: springs and

kangaroo rats and insect bites and
reed mats and dinosaur teeth: lots

of stuff, begun and ended over and
over, so that the loam of our lives

is a loam that was life, flesh from
flesh strangely begotten: flesh into

flesh, a soilure and a soil: but the
wonder of such infinite devising–

tadpole and caterpillar, mushrooms
and figs, mole rats and chimpanzees:

five million insects and only a few
white rhinoceros: ladybugs and plums:

the list lists it is so weighty:
just mud and information: enough

oohing and aahing: everything taking
and being taken–provender: the

lacewing fly, something’s meal: the great
quantity of things lies elsewhere


From Glare, by A.R. Ammons

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