The first typescript

[Page 11]

Ashbery: “The Skaters,” first typescript, page 11

 8   9    F Where, exactly, is the sky?dele

What is the matter with plain old-fashioned cause-and-effect?
Leaving one alone with romantic impressions of the trees, the sky?
Who, actually, is going to be fooled one instant by these phoney explanations,
think them important? So back we go to the old imprecise, feelings, the
common knowledge, the importance of duly suffering and the occasional glimpses
of some balmy felicity. The world of Schubert's lieder. I am fascinated
though by the urge to get out of it all, and the urge to return to XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX by goingdele
Further in and correcting the whole mismanaged mess. But am afraid I'll
Be of no help to you. Goodbye.

As balloons are to the poet, so to the ground
Its varied assortment of trees. The more assorted they are, the
Vaster his experience. Sometimes
You catch sight of them on a level with the top story of a house,
Strung up their for publicity purposes. Or like those bubbles
Children make with a kind of ring, not a pipe, and probably using some detergent
Rather than old fashioned soap and water. Where was I? The balloons
Drift thoughtfully over the land, not exactly commenting on it,
These are the range of the poet's experience. He can hide in trees
Like a hamadryad, but wisely prefers not too, letting the balloons
Idle him out of existence, as a car idles. Traveling faster
And more furiously across unknown horizons, belted into the night
Wishing more and more to be unlike someone, getting the whole thing
(so he believes) out of his system. Inventing systems.
We are a part of of some system, thinks he, just as the sun is part of
The solar system. Trees brake his approach. And he seems to be wearing but
Half a coat, viewed from one side. A "half-man" tlook inspiring the disgust of honest folkdele
Returning from chores, frozen milk, the pump heaped high with a chapeau of snow,
the "No Skating" sign as well. But it is here that he is best
Face to face with the unsmiling alternatives of his nerve-wracking existence
Places squarely in front of his dilemma, on all four before the lamentable spec-
tacle of the unknown.                         this
Yet knowning where men are coming from. It is this, to hold a candle up to the album.dele