I am forced to sleepwalk much of the time.
We hold on to these old ways, are troubled
sometimes and then the geyser goes away,
time gutted. In and of itself there is
no great roar, force pitted against force that
makes up in time what it loses in speed.
The waterfalls, the canyon, a royal I-told-you-so
comes back to greet us at the beginning.
How was your trip? Oh I didn’t last
you see, folded over like the margin
of a dream of the thing-in-itself. Well, and
what have we come to? A paper-thin past,
just so, and ‘tis pity. We regurgitate
old anthems and what has come to pass, and why
dwell on these. Why make things more difficult
than they already are? Because if it’s boring
in a different way, that’ll be interesting too.
That’s what I say.
That rascal, he jumped over the fence.
I’m wiping my pince-nez now. Did you ever hear from
the one who said he’d be back once it was over,
who eluded me even in my sleep? That was a particularly
promising time, we thought. Now the sun’s out
and it’s raining again. Just like a day from
the compendium. I’ll vouch for you,
and we can go on scrolling as though nothing had risen,
the horizon forest looks back at us. The preacher
shook his head, the evangelist balanced two spools
at the end of his little makeshift rope. We’d gone too far.
We’d have to come back in a day or so.
© John Ashbery
Some other random works of this poet:
- Last Month
- Anticipated Stranger
- But What Is the Reader to Make of This?
- Truth Gleams
- Stung By Something
- Many Wagons Ago
- This Room
- Tahiti Trot
- The Tennis Court Oath
- A Man Clamored
- One Man’s Poem
- Random Jottings Of An Old Man
- Cousin Sarah’s Knitting
- Obsidian House
- Portrait With A Goat
- The Orioles
- The Mauve Notebook
- It Was Raining in the Capital
- A Boy
- Outside My Window The Japanese…
- Train Rising out of the Sea
- All That Now
- The Bungalows
- Oh Evenings
- Autumn In The Long Avenue
- Five Pedantic Pieces
- Boundary Issues
- Unpolished Segment
- The Recent Past
- Girls on the Run: IX
- Why Not Sneeze?
- The Way They Took
- Evening in the Country
- Last Night I Dreamed I Was In Bucharest
- If the Birds Knew
- Alone, I
- The Blessed Way Out
- The Problem of Anxiety
- And Ut Pictura Poesis Is Her Name
- Her Cardboard Lover
- My Philosophy Of Life
- An Outing