To begin with, Ammon’s application of imagery concerning the ambiguous radiance serves to animate the setting and generates a tranquil mood. For instance, Ammon insists that the light “does not withhold / itself but pours its abundance without selection into every / nook and cranny not overhung or hidden” (1-3). Here, Ammon suggests that the radiance, like a broken dam, generates an unstoppable tidal wave, filling the world with its “storms of generosity” (12). The imagery of a surging wave suggests the magnitude and forceful effect of the mysterious light. In addition, Ammon expresses, “that birds’ bones make no awful noise against the light but / lie low in the light as in a high testimony,” (4-5) suggesting that the light shines from above as an unreachable source of “abundance” and overpowers even the creatures that take flight and soar higher than any other. This could be a reference to the mysticism surrounding religious perceptions of Heaven as a distant and vast goal, further c...
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... exaltation and resolution for these fears.
In summary, A.R. Ammon’s poem, “The City Limits” offers an experience of the relationship between man and his connection to the spiritual world as evoked through Ammon’s application of diction to generate a contemplative mood, a thought-provoking tone, and an array of metaphoric relationships. Through the use of these devices, Ammon’s communicates the aspects of human nature that seek transcendence, spiritual identity, and atonement. The vast and bountiful radiance Ammon alludes to in his work is a metaphor for spiritual revelation, and generates a meditative mood and setting for the poem, comparable to a secluded cathedral. Ammon allows his audience to pause for introspection, to allow the heart to grow roomier, and to encourage excavation for one’s individual spiritual essence which is intrinsic to the human experience.
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