By John Ashbery
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Extra resources for As we know : poems
The pancake Is around in idea. Today the wisteria is in league With the Spanish minstrels. Who come to your house To serenade it All or in part. The windows are open again The dust blows through A diagram of a room. This is where it all Had to take place, Around a drum of living, The motion by which a life May be known and recognized, A shipwreck seen from the shore, A puzzling column of figures. The dark shirt dragged frequently Through the bayou. Your luggage Is found Upon the plane. , Being there indeed once (Everyday occurrence), We stopped at the Pacific Airport To hear the rush of disguises For the elegant truth, notwithstanding Some in underwear stood around Puddles in the darkened Cement and sodium lights Beyond the earthworks Beyond the chain-link fence Until dawn touched with her cool Stab of grace nobody deserved (but It’s always that way isn’t it) Le charme du matin You and Sven-Bertil must At some point have overridden The barriers real or fancied Blowing like bedcurtains later In the oyster light— Something I saw once Reminded me of it: That old, evil, not-so-secret Formula Now laundered, made to look Transparent.
That a badger with a trumpet on a far tussock May rake in the calls, and none of it Ever gets distributed to the poor, which I had stipulated As being part of the deal? And who are we poor workers? Not much surely, but we were Just getting over the shock of dispossession When this happened, and now this on top of it. Who is any the wiser? What are we to make of What now appears to be our lot, though we did nothing To deserve it? Our efforts were in some way Directed at a greater good, though we never forgot Our own interests, as long as they harmed no one.
And we must arrange These filaments of silence as an elephant trap Over the grid of city conversations and background doings. The quietude Of the future to be built, beside which Today’s valors and sighs must appear As vanished suburbs beside some eighteenth-century Metropolis, or stairs rolling down to a sea Of urgent scrolls and torsades: A Baltic commonplace riven by tremendous Hairline fissures as deep as the heavens. In other words, leave it alone. That’s interesting. In my diary I have noted down all kinds of exceptional Things to go with the rest As one who naps beside a chasm Swollen with the hellish sound of wind And torrents, and never chooses To play back the tape.
As we know : poems by John Ashbery