In View of the Fact

A. R. Ammons

The people of my time are passing away: my
wife is baking for a funeral, a 60-year-old who
died suddenly, when the phone rings, and it's
Ruth we care so much about in intensive care:
it was once weddings that came so thick and
fast, and then, first babies, such a hullabaloo:
now, it's this that and the other and somebody
else gone or on the brink: well, we never
thought we would live forever (although we did)
and now it looks like we won't: some of us
are losing a leg to diabetes, some don't know
what they went downstairs for, some know that
a hired watchful person is around, some like
to touch the cane tip into something steady,
so nice: we have already lost so many,
brushed the loss of ourselves ourselves: our
address books for so long a slow scramble now
are palimpsests, scribbles and scratches: our
index cards for Christmases, birthdays,
Halloweens drop clean away into sympathies:
at the same time we are getting used to so
many leaving, we are hanging on with a grip
to the ones left: we are not giving up on the
congestive heart failure or brain tumors, on
the nice old men left in empty houses or on
the widows who decide to travel a lot: we
think the sun may shine someday when we'll
drink wine together and think of what used to
be: until we die we will remember every
single thing, recall every word, love every
loss: then we will, as we must, leave it to
others to love, love that can grow brighter
and deeper till the very end, gaining strength
and getting more precious all the way. . . .
"In View of the Fact" is reprinted from Bosh and Flapdoodle by A. R. Ammons. Copyright © 2005. With permission of the publisher, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Poems by This Author

Called into Play by A. R. Ammons
Fall fell: so that's it for the leaf poetry:
Continuity by A. R. Ammons
I've pressed so
In Memoriam Mae Noblitt by A. R. Ammons
This is just a place: / we go around, distanced,
Still by A. R. Ammons
I said I will find what is lowly
The City Limits by A. R. Ammons
When you consider the radiance, that it does not withhold

Further Reading

Poems About Aging
Abandonment Under the Walnut Tree
by D. A. Powell
by Donald Hall
by Robert Creeley
Age and Death
by Emma Lazarus
Almost Sixty
by Jim Moore
Beyond the Years
by Paul Laurence Dunbar
by Elizabeth Alexander
Demeter in Paris
by Meghan O'Rourke
by John Koethe
El Dorado
by Edgar Allan Poe
Fear of the Future
by John Koethe
First Gestures
by Julia Spicher Kasdorf
Fixed Interval
by Devin Johnston
by Billy Collins
by T.S. Eliot
Get Up, Please
by David Kirby
Looking Back in My Eighty-First Year
by Maxine Kumin
by Sara Teasdale
My Lost Youth
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
My Skeleton
by Jane Hirshfield
Poem at Thirty
by Michael Ryan
by Effie Waller Smith
by Tony Hoagland
Refusing at Fifty-Two to Write Sonnets
by Thomas Lynch
Rock Me to Sleep
by Elizabeth Akers Allen
by Adam Zagajewski
Since Nine—
by C. P. Cavafy
The Chicago Poem
by Jerome Rothenberg
The Edges of Time
by Kay Ryan
The Human Seasons
by John Keats
The Tower
by W. B. Yeats
The Widows of Gravesend
by L. S. Asekoff
The Young Man's Song
by W. B. Yeats
this kind of fire
by Charles Bukowski
To a Young Girl at a Window
by Margaret Widdemer
To Chloe: Who for his sake wished herself younger
by William Cartwright
To Earthward
by Robert Frost
to my last period
by Lucille Clifton
To Think of Time
by Walt Whitman
Two Horses and a Dog
by James Galvin
When You are Old
by W. B. Yeats