• 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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