A. R. Ammons
Run Ragged

I said I don’t want to be older, but it’s be older

and older or nothing, right: and day by day


it’s been older every day since the beginning:

still, there was a bracket of young years


within which one could say, these are not the

older years or the baby years: there are, as


Shakespeare said, groups of time, the

transitions from one group to another usually


unalarming: people who have nothing to say

should say nothing: they should drum syllables


or squeeze verbs (or nouns) or cast them like

die, craps, creeps: for example, I don’t


feel at home in this universe and it may be

the only one: that is so pathetic: I think


that is so heartrending with content:

how can the place you come from not be your


home: is the only way to make a phrase

interesting to make it sound like it’s not a


phrase: or it could be two phrases or go two

different ways when you are really going nowhere


well, the human race needs a better track,

the track itself worn or grown over.


31 March ‘98

Found In Volume 32, No. 03
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A. R. Ammons
About the Author

A. R. Ammons wrote nearly thirty books of poetry, among them Glare(W.W. Norton, 1997); Garbage (1993), which won the National Book Award and the Library of Congress’s Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry; A Coast of Trees (1981), which received the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry; Sphere (1974), which received the Bollingen Prize; and Collected Poems 1951-1971 (1972), which won the National Book Award.  He lived in Ithaca, New York, where he was Goldwin Smith Professor of Poetry at Cornell University until his retirement in 1998.  A. R.Ammons died on February 25, 2001.