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By A. R. Ammons

The song

sparrow puts all his

saying

into one

repeated song:

what

 

variations, subtleties

he manages,

to encompass denser

meanings, I’m

too coarse

to catch: it’s

 

one song, an over-reach

from which

all possibilities,

like filaments,

depend:

killing,

 

nesting, dying,

sun or cloud,

figure up

and become

song—simple, hard:

removed.


A. R. Ammons, “Glass” from Collected Poems: 1951-1971. Copyright © 1965 by A. R. Ammons. Reprinted by permission of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Source: Collected Poems: 1951-1971 (W. W. Norton and Company Inc., 1972)

  • Arts & Sciences
  • Nature

Poet Bio

A. R. Ammons
The wonderfully varied poetry of A. R. Ammons reflects his lifelong interest in science; landscapes, animals, biological processes, and even the weather typically provide the raw materials for his philosophical meditations. An heir of the American transcendentalists Emerson and Thoreau, who sought in nature clues to an ultimate metaphysical reality, he also has affinities with Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens and William Carlos Williams. A self-deprecating, countrified humor marks both his short, personal lyrics and experimental longer poems. One longer poem, Tape for the Turn of the Year, was written entirely on adding-machine tape. See More By This Poet

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