A.R. Ammon: the Colon

If Anything Will Level With You Water Will

Streams shed out of mountains in a white rust
(such the abomination of height)
slow then into upland basins or high marsh
and slowing drop loose composed figurations
on big river bottoms
or give the first upward turn from plains:
that’s for modern streams: if sediment’s
lithified it
may have to be considered ancient, the result of
a pressing, perhaps lengthy, induration:
old streams from which the water’s
vanished are interesting I mean that
kind of tale,
water, like spirit, jostling hard stuff around
to make speech into one of its realest expressions:
water certainly is interesting (as is spirit) and
small rock, a glacial silt, just as much so:
but most pleasurable (magma and migma) is
rock itself in a bound slurp or spill
or overthrust into very recent times:
there waterlike stone, those heated seekings &
goings, cools to exact concentration, I
mean the telling’s unmediated:
the present allows the reading of much
old material: but none of it need be read:
it says itself (and
said itself) so to speak perfectly in itself.

—A.R. Ammons

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