Firm ground is not available ground: "Dunes"—a poem by A. R. Ammons

 Lone post amidst dunes and trees near Wells-next-the-Sea
Some of you will have seen my last blogpost which included a number of photos from Wells-next-the-Sea. Wells opens up on to a truly wonderful beach with many sand dunes that are endlessly being reshaped by wind and tide.

Well, when I got back home, on the doorstep was a second-hand book of poetry I had ordered some weeks ago by A. R. Ammons his "The Selected Poems" (Expanded Edition), W. W. Norton & Company, 1986. I tracked down a copy because I am currently reading "Waking to Wonder: Wittgenstein's Existential Investigations" by Gordon C. F. Bearn which has as its epigraph a poem by Ammons called "A Coast of Trees". I was so taken with that poem that I immediately decided to explore some more of his work which I did not know at all. I'm glad I did. Here is his poem "Dunes" which seems to speak eloquently of the kind of non-foundationalist naturalism I have been exploring in recent years and which certainly informed my thoughts as Susanna and I walked along the coast among the dunes.

Dunes by A. R. Ammons

Taking root in windy sand
  is not an easy
way
to go about
    finding a place to stay.

A ditch bank or wood’s-edge
    has firmer ground.

In a loose world though
    something can be started—
a root touch water,
    a tip break sand—

Mounds from that can rise
    on held mounds,
a gesture of building, keeping,
    a trapping
into shape.

Firm ground is not available ground.

Dunes at Wells-next-the Sea
Dunes at Wells-next-the Sea
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