Play by A. R. Ammons

A few days ago I visited a friend of mine in Ottawa. I hadn’t seen him since I met him five years ago when we were both traveling in Nicaragua. I’ve been thinking about something he said on the visit. His New Year’s resolution this year was to fail. Meaning, he decided he was going to reach for his wildest dreams, even though life’s deck was stacked against him in landing them. So far though, he’s been able to touch those dreams.

It reminds me of one of my favorite poems by A. R. Ammons, “Play.” The theme is the shortness of life and instead of being discouraged by that, seeing it as an opportunity to reach as far as we can, since “the common” disaster of death makes it okay to fail in the pursuit of our wild dreams.


A.R. Ammons

Nothing’s going to become of anyone
except death:
therefore: it’s okay
to yearn
too high:
the grave accommodates
swell rambunctiousness &

ruin’s not
compromised by magnificence:

the cut-off point
liberates us to the
common disaster: so
pick a perch –
apple bough for example in bloom –
tune up
and if you like

drill imagination right through necessity:
it’s all right:
it’s been taken care of:

is allowed, considering

Luke Maguire Armstrong

Luke Maguire Armstrong

Oh Luke Maguire Armstrong knows the Muffin Man. Oh yes, he knows the Muffin man. Luke is an author/musician, raccoon survivor, who has done educational development work in Central America, The Bronx, and Kenya. His work to battle infant malnutrition was featured on ABC News 20/20. He has never fought a bear and is the author of four books, including "How We Are Human" and "iPoems for the Dolphins to Click Home About." Read his bullshit at or follow him @LukeSpartacus and he will sing you songs.