corson’s inlet

I went for a walk over the dunes again this morning
to the sea,
then turned right along
   the surf
              rounded a naked headland
              and returned

   along the inlet shore:

it was muggy sunny, the wind from the sea steady and high,
crisp in the running sand,
     some breakthroughs of sun
  but after a bit

continuous overcast:

the walk liberating, I was released from forms,
from the perpendiculars,
     straight lines, blocks, boxes, binds
of thought
into the hues, shadings, rises, flowing bends and blends
          of sight:

                 I allow myself eddies of meaning:
yield to a direction of significance
running
like a stream through the geography of my work:
   you can find
in my sayings
               swerves of action
               like the inlet’s cutting edge:
        there are dunes of motion,
organizations of grass, white sandy paths of remembrance
in the overall wandering of mirroring mind:

but Overall is beyond me: is the sum of these events
I cannot draw, the ledger I cannot keep, the accounting
beyond the account:

in nature there are few sharp lines: there are areas of
primrose
    more or less dispersed;
disorderly orders of bayberry; between the rows
of dunes
irregular swamps of reeds
though not reeds alone, but grass bayberry, yarrow, all . . .
predominantly reeds:

I have reached no conclusions, have erected no boundaries,
shutting out and shutting in, separating inside
       from outside: I have
       drawn no lines:
       as

manifold events of sand
change the dune’s shape that will not be the same shape
tomorrow,

so I am willing to go along, to accept
the becoming
thought, to stake off no beginnings or ends establish
      no walls:

by transitions the land falls from grassy dunes to creek
to undercreek: but there are no lines though
     change in that transition is clear
     as any sharpness: but “sharpness” spread out,
allowed to occur over a wider range
than mental lines can keep:

the moon was full last night: today, low tide was low:
black shoals of mussels exposed to the risk
of air
and, earlier, of sun,
waved in and out with the waterline, waterline inexact,
caught always in the event of change:
    a young mottled gull stood free on the shoals
    and ate
to vomiting: another gull, squawking possession, cracked a crab,
picked out the entrails, swallowed the soft-shelled legs, a ruddy
turnstone running in to snatch leftover bits:

risk is full: every living thing in
siege: the demand is life, to keep life: the small
white blacklegged egret, how beautiful, quietly stalks and spears
         the shallows, darts to shore
                  to stab – what? I couldn’t
    see against the black mudflats – a frightened
    fiddler crab?

         the news to my left over the dunes and
reeds and bayberry clumps was
         fall: thousands of tree swallows
         gathering for flight:
         an order held
         in constant change: a congregation
rich with entropy: nevertheless, separable, noticeable
       as one event,
               not chaos: preparations for
flight from winter,
cheet, cheet, cheet, cheet, wings rifling the green clumps
beaks
at the bayberries
   a perception full of wind, flight, curve,
   sound:
   the possibility of rule as the sum of rulelessness:
the “field” of action
with moving, incalculable center:

in the smaller view, order tight with shape:
blue tiny flowers on a leafless weed: carapace of crab:
snail shell:
        pulsations of order
        in the bellies of minnows: orders swallowed,
broken down, transferred through membranes
to strengthen larger orders: but in the large view, no
lines or changeless shapes: the working in and out, together
        and against, of millions of events: this,
                 so that I make
                 no form of
                 formlessness:

orders as summaries, as outcomes of actions override
or in some way result, not predictably (seeing me gain
the top of a dune,
the swallows
could take flight – some other fields of bayberry
       could enter fall
       berryless) and there is serenity:

       no arranged terror: no forcing of image, plan,
or thought:
no propaganda, no humbling of reality to precept:

terror pervades but is not arranged, all possibilities
of escape open: no route shut, except in
   the sudden loss of all routes:

       I see narrow orders, limited tightness, but will
not run to that easy victory:
       still around the looser, wider forces work:
       I will try
     to fasten into order enlarging grasps of disorder, widening
scope, but enjoying the freedom that
Scope eludes my grasp, that there is no finality of vision,
that I have perceived nothing completely,
       that tomorrow a new walk is a new walk.

(A. R. Ammons)

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