In Memoriam Mae Noblitt

By A. R. Ammons 1926–2001
This is just a place:
we go around, distanced,
yearly in a star’s

atmosphere, turning
daily into and out of
direct light and

slanting through the
quadrant seasons: deep
space begins at our

heels, nearly rousing
us loose: we look up
or out so high, sight’s   

silk almost draws us away:
this is just a place:
currents worry themselves

coiled and free in airs
and oceans: water picks
up mineral shadow and

plasm into billions of
designs, frames: trees,
grains, bacteria: but

is love a reality we
made here ourselves—
and grief—did we design

that—or do these,
like currents, whine
in and out among us merely

as we arrive and go:
this is just a place:
the reality we agree with,

that agrees with us,
outbounding this, arrives
to touch, joining with

us from far away:
our home which defines
us is elsewhere but not

so far away we have   
forgotten it:
this is just a place.

“In Memorium Mae Noblitt,” from A Coast of Trees by A.R. Ammons. Copyright © 1981 by A.R. Ammons. Used by permission of W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Source: A Coast of Trees (W. W. Norton and Company Inc., 1981)

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Poet A. R. Ammons 1926–2001

Subjects Time & Brevity, Nature, Living

 A. R. Ammons

Biography

A. R. Ammons was born in rural North Carolina, and his experiences growing up on a cotton and tobacco farm during the Great Depression inspired a great deal of the poet's work. Ammons wrote his first poems while serving aboard a Navy destroyer during World War II. After the war, he completed his education, then held a variety of jobs before beginning his teaching career at Cornell University in 1964. Ammons once told the . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Time & Brevity, Nature, Living

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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