Rogue Elephant by A. R. Ammons
Rogue Elephant by A. R. Ammons a. r. ammons stories
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The reason to be autonomous is to stand there, a cleared instrument, ready to act, to search

Rogue Elephant by A. R. Ammons

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.

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