A.R. Ammons – Single Threads Unbraided

Today begins the symposium on A.R. Ammons, Wake Forest’s noted poet.  Single Threads Unbraided will be taking place today and tomorrow on campus. Whether your student is an English major, just likes poetry and art, or is simply proud to have a renowned poet of this caliber as a fellow alumnus, they ought to consider this symposium.  The full schedule is available online.

In honor of the symposium, here is one of A.R. Ammons’ poems.

Identity

1) An individual spider web
identifies a species:

an order of instinct prevails
through all accidents of circumstance,
though possibility is
high along the peripheries of
spider
webs:
you can go all
around the fringing attachments

and find
disorder ripe,
entropy rich, high levels of random,
numerous occasions of accident:

2) the possible settings
of a web are infinite:

how does
the spider keep
identity
while creating the web
in a particular place?

how and to what extent
and by what modes of chemistry
and control?

it is
wonderful
how things work: I will tell you
about it
because

it is interesting
and because whatever is
moves in weeds
and stars and spider webs
and known
is loved:
in that love,
each of us knowing it,
I love you,

for it moves within and beyond us,
sizzles in
to winter grasses, darts and hangs with bumblebees
by summer windowsills:

I will show you
the underlying that takes no image to itself,
cannot be shown or said,
but weaves in and out of moons and bladderweeds,
is all and
beyond destruction
because created fully in no
particular form:

if the web were perfectly pre-set,
the spider could
never find
a perfect place to set it in: and

if the web were
perfectly adaptable,
if freedom and possibility were without limit,
the web would
lose its special identity:

the row-strung garden web
keeps order at the center
where space is freest (intersecting that the freest
“medium” should
accept the firmest order)

and that
order
diminishes toward the
periphery
allowing at the points of contact
entropy equal to entropy.

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