By Father David Fisher

picture of father fisher

“Uh, Philosophy”

by AR Ammons

I understand reading the modern philosophers
that truth is so much a method
it’s perfectly all
right for me to believe whatever
I like or if I like,

I do not know that I care to be set that free
I am they say
at liberty to be
provisional, to operate
expediently, do not have to commit myself

to impeturbables, outright
legislations, hardfast rules:
they say I can
prefer any truths
suits my blood,

blends with my proclivities, my temperament:
I suppose they mean I’ve had more experience than I can
ever read about, taking in
as I do
possibly a hundred sensations per second, conscious
and unconscious

and making a vegetal at least
from them all, so that
philosophy is
a pry-pole, materialization,
useful as a snow shovel when it snows:

something solid to knock people down with
or back people up with:
I don’t know that I care to be backed up in just that way:
the philosophy gives clubs to
everyone, and I prefer disarmament:
that is, I would rather relate

to the imperturbable objective
than be the agent of
“possibly unsatisfactory eventualities”:
isn’t anything plain true:
if I had something
to conform to (without responsibility)

I wouldn’t feel so hot and sticky:
(but I must be moved by what I am moved by):
they do say, though, I must give some force to facts,
must bend that way enough,
be in on the gist of “concrete observations,”
must be pliant to the drift (roll with the knocks):

they say, too, I must halter my fancy
with these blinding limitations:
I don’t know that I can go along with that either:
for though I’ve proved myself stupid by 33 years
of getting nowhere

I must nevertheless be given credit for the sense wherewith
I decided to never set out:
What are facts if I can’t line them up
anyway I please
and have the freedom
I refused I think in the beginning? (95-7)