Cascadilla Falls – A. R. Ammons

Cascadilla Falls

I went down by Cascadilla
Falls this evening, the stream below the falls,
and picked up a
handsized stone
kidney-shaped, testicular, and

thought all its motions into it,
the 800 mph earth spin,
the 190-million-mile yearly
displacement around the sun,
the overriding

of the galaxy with the 30,000
mph of where
the sun’s going:
thought all the interweaving
into myself: dropped

the stone to dead rest:
the stream from other motions
rushing over it:
I turned

to the sky and stood still:
I do
not know where I am going
that I can live my life
by this single creek.

– A. R. Ammons

The practice of science, the knowledge gained from it, and the people who do it are, of course, poetic subjects that are just as valid as any other. But what is often more interesting is when a poet uses scientific knowledge, imagery or language to explore other themes. The infusion of the scientific world-view into the consciousness provides both a grandeur and a grounding for the play of human experience.


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