The City Limits
A. R. Ammons – 1926-2001
When you consider the radiance, that it does not withhold
itself but pours its abundance without selection into every
nook and cranny not overhung or hidden; when you consider
that birds’ bones make no awful noise against the light but
lie low in the light as in a high testimony; when you consider
the radiance, that it will look into the guiltiest
swervings of the weaving heart and bear itself upon them,
not flinching into disguise or darkening; when you consider
the abundance of such resource as illuminates the glow-blue
bodies and gold-skeined wings of flies swarming the dumped
guts of a natural slaughter or the coil of shit and in no
way winces from its storms of generosity; when you consider
that air or vacuum, snow or shale, squid or wolf, rose or lichen,
each is accepted into as much light as it will take, then
the heart moves roomier, the man stands and looks about, the
leaf does not increase itself above the grass, and the dark
work of the deepest cells is of a tune with May bushes
and fear lit by the breadth of such calmly turns to praise.
2 thoughts on “The City Limits, by A. R. Ammons”
I was unimpressed until the second or third stanza. This one really picks up steam as it goes, finishes strong, and is a great way to start the morning. I’d never read it before. Thanks for putting it up.
I agree about how it picks up as it goes. Glad you liked it. I just finished your post today. That’s a really good looking cake!