John Ashbery (28 July 1927 / Rochester, New York)
''But it is the same thing we are all seeing,John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "A Tone Poem."
Our world. Go after it,
Go get it boy, says the man holding the stick.
Eat, says the hunger, and we plunge blindly in again,
Into the chamber behind the thought.''
''I am not offended that these creatures (that's the word)John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "Mixed Feelings."
Of my imagination seem to hold me in such light esteem,
Pay so little heed to me. It's part of a complicated
Flirtation routine, anyhow, no doubt.''
''Although I mean it, and project the meaningJohn Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "The Ice-Cream Wars."
As hard as I can into its brushed-metal surface,
It cannot, in this deteriorating climate, pick up
Where I leave off.''
''Yet the landscape, those billboards, age as rapidly as before.''John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "A Tone Poem."
''The first year was like icing.John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "More Pleasant Adventures."
Then the cake started to show through.''
''And the truth becomes a hole, something one has always known,John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "The Ice-Cream Wars."
A heaviness in the trees, and no one can say
Where it comes from, or how long it will stay
A randomness, a darkness of one's own.''
''I shall return in the dark and be seen,John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "At the Inn."
Be led to my own room by well-intentioned hands,
Placed in a box with a lid whose underside is dark
So as to grow....''
''Then there is confusionJohn Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "More Pleasant Adventures."
Even out of happiness, like a smoke
The words get heavy, some topple over, you break others.
And outlines disappear once again.''
''As I sit looking out of a window of the buildingJohn Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic, novelist. The Instruction Manual (l. 1-5). . . Selected Poems [John Ashbery]. (1986) Penguin Books.
I wish I did not have to write the instructional manual on the uses
of a new metal.
I look down into the street and see people, each walking with an
And envy themthey are so far away from me!
Not one of them has to worry about getting out this manual on
''So, laying his cheek against the dresser's wooden one,John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "At the Inn."
He died making up stories, the ones
Not every child wanted to listen to.''
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Orpheus liked the glad personal quality
Of the things beneath the sky. Of course, Eurydice was a part
Of this. Then one day, everything changed. He rends
Rocks into fissures with lament. Gullies, hummocks
Can't withstand it. The sky shudders from one horizon
To the other, almost ready to give up wholeness.
Then Apollo quietly told him: "Leave it all on earth.
Your lute, what point? Why pick at a dull pavan few care to
Follow, except a few birds of dusty feather,