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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger
What a stunning poem! It brings our awareness down, down into the root of being.
There are several wonderful lines, but I want to explore where A. R. Ammons has chosen to break his lines.
I can find nothing
to give myself to:
magnificent with existence...
Read each line separately. "I can find nothing," he says, and only parenthetically adds, "to give myself to."
He doesn't simply say, "everything is magnificent with existence." He breaks the line emphatically. "Everything is!" he proclaims. Being, the pure existence of things, is itself what is "magnificent." His strong line break drives home this truth by requiring us to read the line as two distinct statements which the mind only later pieces together to form a single sentence.
Another line break to contemplate:
nestling in I
He is saying two things at once with the line break here. The surface reading could be paraphrased as, "I found while I was nestling in..." But another reading is, "Nestling in myself, I (am) found."
The final stanza might encourage the second, more mystical reading:
at one sudden point came still,
stood in wonder:
moss, beggar, weed, tick, pine, self, magnificent
I don't want to pass by the line about the beggar -- "there, love shook his body like a devastation" -- Wow!
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M. Granger's original poetry, stories and commentaries are Copyright ©
2002 - 2011 by Ivan M. Granger.
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