The first typescript

[Page 15]

Ashbery: “The Skaters,” first typescript, page 15

II-D dele

But I heard the heavens say--Is it right? This continual changing back and forth?
Laughter and tears and so on? Mightn't just plain sadness be sufficient for him?
No! I'll not accept that any more, you bewhiskered old caverns of blue!
This is just right for me. I am cozily ensconced in the balcony of my face

Looking out over the whole darn countryside a beacon of satisfaction
I am. I'll not trade places with a king. Here I am then, continuing yet ever beginning
My perennial voyage, into new memories, new hope and flowers
The way the coasts glide past you. I shall never forget this moment

Because it consists of purest ecstasy. I am happier now than I ever dared believe
Anyone could be. And we finger down the dog-eared coasts...
It is all passing! It is past! No, I am here,dele
Bellow the coasts, and heCC even the heavens roar their assentdele

As we pick up a lemon colored light horizontally
Projected into the night, the night that heaven
Was kind enough to send, and I launch into the happiest dreams
Happier once again, because tomorrow is already here!

Yet certain kernels remain. Clouds that drift past sheds dele
Read it once in the official bulletin. We shan't be putting out today.dele
The old stove smoked worse than ever because rain was coming down its chimney.
Only the bleary eye of the fog accosted one through the mended pane.

Outside the swamp water lapped the broken wood step.
Nearby a rowboat was moored in the alligator-infested swamp.
Somewhere, from deep in the interior of the jungle, a groan was heard.
Could it be...? Anyway, a rainy day--wet weather.

The whole voyage will have to be cancelled.
It would be possiXXXXX impossible to make connectio XXXXXXXXXX different connections.dele
Anyway the hotels are all full at this season. The junks packed with refugees
Returning from the islands. Sea-bream and flounder abound in the muddied waters...

They areXXX in fact represent the background of the island economy.dele
That, and cigar rolling. Please leave your papers at the desk as you pass out,
You know. "The Wedding March." Ah yes, that's the way. The couple descend
The churXXXX steps of the little old church. Ribbons are flung, ribbons of clouddele

And the sun seems to be coming out. But there have been so many false alarms...
No, it's happened! The storm is over. Again the weather is fine and clear.
And the voyage? It's on! Listen everybody, the ship is starting,
I can hear its whistle's roar! We have just time to make it to the dock!

And away they pour, in the sulfoursXXXX urous sunlightdele
To the aqua and silver waters where stands the glistening white ship
And into the great vessel they pour, a motley and happy crowd
Chanting and pouring down hymns on the surface of the ocean...