Poems from A Wave (1984)
Old-fashioned shadows hanging down, that difficulty in love too soon Some star or other went out, and you, thank you for your book and year Something happened in the garage and I owe it for the blood traffic Too low for nettles but it is exactly the way people think and feel And I think there’s going to be even more but waist-high Night occurs dimmer each time with the pieces of light smaller and squarer You have original artworks hanging on the walls oh I said edit You nearly undermined the brush I now place against the ball field arguing That love was a round place and will still be there two years from now And it is a dream sailing in a dark unprotected cove Pirates imitate the ways of ordinary people myself for instance Planted over and over that land has a bitter aftertaste A blue anchor grains of grit in a tall sky sewing He is a monster like everyone else but what do you do if you’re a monster Like him feeling him come from far away and then go down to his car The wedding was enchanted everyone was glad to be in it What trees, tools, why ponder socks on the premises Come to the edge of the barn the property really begins there In a smaller tower shuttered and put away there You lay aside your hair like a book that is too important to read now Why did witches pursue the beast from the eight sides of the country A pencil on glass—shattered! The water runs down the drain In winter sometimes you see those things and also in summer A child must go down it must stand and last Too late the last express passes through the dust of gardens A vest—there is so much to tell about even in the side rooms Hesitantly, it built up and passed quickly without unlocking There are some places kept from the others and are separate, they never exist I lost my ridiculous accent without acquiring another In Buffalo, Buffalo she was praying, the nights stick together like pages in an old book The dreams descend like cranes on gilded, forgetful wings What is the past, what is it all for? A mental sandwich? Did you say, hearing the schooner overhead, we turned back to the weir? In rags and crystals, sometimes with a shred of sense, an odd dignity The boy must have known the particles fell through the house after him All in all we were taking our time, the sea returned—no more pirates I inch and only sometimes as far as the twisted pole gone in spare colors
Copyright © 1984 by John Ashbery. Used by arrangement with Georges Borchardt, Inc. for the author.