Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Another poem from Without Paradise:

                             after A. R. Ammons

There’s a small hill in the tall grass in the backyard
that’s a perfect pillow. Summer’s my lazy time if lazy’s
understood the way I mean it: wagging fingers, dirty

looks be damned. Implied utility’s a constant
in a view, even up through birdshook foliage
or looking at clodhopping robins hunting worms,

spotting a split-second rabbit, or reflecting
on the house that costs so much to live in (nothing
much: 2BR, bath, eat-in kitch, den, lvng rm):

nice portion of an acre though and privacy preserved
by hemlock hedges, cedar, and rhododendron:
comfortable terrain around the nest: good sleeping.

Yet like everything else alive I have competitors
and predators (creditors): presently I carry a balance
due on several past accounts: their statements, in-

voices they call them, flimsy tissues, flush with alarm
at repercussions, service interruptions, spotty
ratings, garnishings, and heavy levies on extra time

and on my quietude. My neighbor’s mower has the power
of a motorcycle and its hypertense demeanor, growling
at a distance, makes the stiff grass on my sweaty arms

stop itching: now it’s a delicate tickle. Why do choices
seem to come in twos? I don’t want to go anywhere
or do anything right now although a bright idea

might occur to me watching a squirrel in the oak
lie full-length on a limb and stretch out like a cat,
or staring into the effulgent redscape of my eyelids

(where the will is situated, surely) with the bright sun
free a while between the slowly counterearthwise clouds
and I’ll get up and do it then or go there.