Learn More

Archie Randolph Ammons

(18 February 1926 – 25 February 2001 / Whiteville, North Carolina)

Rogue Elephant


The reason to be autonomous is to stand there,
a cleared instrument, ready to act, to search

the moral realm and actual conditions for what
needs to be done and to do it: fine, the

best, if it works out, but if, like a gun, it
comes in handy to the wrong choice, why then

you see the danger in the effective: better
then an autonomy that stands and looks about,

negotiating nothing, the supreme indifferences:
is anything to be gained where as much is lost:

and if for every action there is an equal and
opposite reaction has the loss been researched

equally with the gain: you can see how the
milling actions of millions could come to a

buzzard-like glide as from a coincidental,
warm bottom of water stuck between chilled

peaks: it is not so easy to say, OK, go on
out and act: who, doing what, to what or

whom: just a minute: should the bunker be
bombed (if it stores gas): should all the

rattlers die just because they rattle: if I
hear the young gentleman vomiter roaring down

the hall in the men's room, should I go and
inquire of him, reducing him to my care: no

wonder the great sayers (who say nothing) sit
about in inaccessible states of mind: no

wonder still wisdom and catatonia appear to
exchange places occasionally: but if anything

were easy, our easy choices soon would carry
away our ignorance with the world-better

let the mixed-up mix and let the surface shine
with all the possibilities, each in itself.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read poems about / on: loss, water, lost, world, work

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (Rogue Elephant by Archie Randolph Ammons )

Enter the verification code :

  • Rookie - 774 Points Lamont Palmer (1/2/2009 10:53:00 AM)

    I've grown to enjoy the poems of Ammons and recognize the power in his style and vision. -LP (Report) Reply

Read all 1 comments »

Trending Poets

Trending Poems

  1. A Child's Christmas in Wales, Dylan Thomas
  2. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
  3. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  4. The Saddest Poem, Pablo Neruda
  5. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
  6. Death is Nothing at All, Henry Scott Holland
  7. A Little While, Dante Gabriel Rossetti
  8. I Knew a Woman, Theodore Roethke
  9. Daffodils, William Wordsworth
  10. If, Rudyard Kipling

Poem of the Day

poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti

A little while a little love
The hour yet bears for thee and me
Who have not drawn the veil to see
If still our heaven be lit above.
Thou merely, at the day's last sigh,
...... Read complete »

   

New Poems

  1. The Man, Victor Kretzie
  2. Again, Joseph Archer
  3. the business of cuisine, oskar hansen
  4. For You And I, Edward Kofi Louis
  5. Crucifixion of th' Soul..., Frank James Ryan Jr...FjR
  6. Beware Of Mankind, Edward Kofi Louis
  7. Bigtha, Edward Kofi Louis
  8. Love Me Girl, Joseph Archer
  9. One Christmas Eve From The North..., Frank James Ryan Jr...FjR
  10. Neryah, Edward Kofi Louis
[Hata Bildir]