I said I will find what is lowly and put the roots of my identity down there: each day I'll wake up and find the lowly nearby, a handy focus and reminder, a ready measure of my significance, the voice by which I would be heard, the wills, the kinds of selfishness I could freely adopt as my own: but though I have looked everywhere, I can find nothing to give myself to: everything is magnificent with existence, is in surfeit of glory: nothing is diminished, nothing has been diminished for me: I said what is more lowly than the grass: ah, underneath, a ground-crust of dry-burnt moss: I looked at it closely and said this can be my habitat: but nestling in I found below the brown exterior green mechanisms beyond the intellect awaiting resurrection in rain: so I got up and ran saying there is nothing lowly in the universe: I found a beggar: he had stumps for legs: nobody was paying him any attention: everybody went on by: I nestled in and found his life: there, love shook his body like a devastation: I said though I have looked everywhere I can find nothing lowly in the universe: I whirled through transfigurations up and down, transfigurations of size and shape and place: at one sudden point came still, stood in wonder: moss, beggar, weed, tick, pine, self, magnificent with being!
From The Selected Poems: 1951-1977, Expanded Edition, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. Copyright © 1986 by A. R. Ammons.
A. R. Ammons
Archie Randolph Ammons was born outside Whiteville, North Carolina, on February 18,
Date Published: 1986-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/still