Self

A. R. Ammons

Fall 1974

Will you, considering the life I have borne,
the nights twisting cold strings of panic,
other nights (and whole days) the heart racing

and stalling with terror, fury, and desire,
will you, I said, at this point in a life I’ve
cursed and thought to throw away, a life

I have hushed in darkness as my own error
and devising, will you now in a last chastening,
a humbling like humiliation, require me to come

up to the hills of openness and announce my
life yours, as given by you and to be given back
to you by me, my gratitude at last for what is

not my own spoken forth, said into the place that
hears and cares to hear nothing because it is
sound’s own source: my god, my redemption: here

is the dark breakage I have held, not knowing you
made it dumb for speech, not knowing its mix and
constitution just: take this final pride away.

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