The first typescript

[Page 16]

Ashbery: “The Skaters,” first typescript, page 16

II-E dele

Pulling, tugging us along with them, by means of streamers
Golden and silver confetti. Smiling, we laugh and sing with the revelers
But are not quite certain that we want to go--the dock is so sunny and warm
That majestic ship will pull up anchor who knows where?

And full of laughter and tears, we sidle once again with the other passengers
The ground is heaving underfoot. Is it the ship? It could be the dock...
And with a great whoosh all the sails go up... Hideous black smoke belches forth from the funnels
Staining the gold carnival costumes with the gaiety of its jet-black soot

And, as into a tunnel the voyage starts
Only, as I said, to be continued. The eyes of those left standing on the dockare wet
But ours are dry. Into the secretive, vaprous night with all of us!
Into the unknown, the unknown that loves us, the great unknown!

So man nightly
Sparingly descends

The birches and the hay         all of him
Pruned, erect for vital contact. As the separate mists of day slip
Uncomplainingly into the atmosphere. Loving you? The question sinks into

That mazy business
About writing or to have read it in some book
To silently move away. At Gonnosfanadiga the pumps
Working, argent in the thickening sunset, like boys' shoulders

And you return to the question as to a calendar of Novemberdele
Again and again consulting the surface of that enormous affair
I think not to have loved you          but the music
Petting the enameled             slow-imagined stars
 hornpipe? dele
 fireworks?A concert of dissatisfaction whereby            gutter and dust seepdele
To engross the slowXXXX mirrored image and its landscape.dele
City in dirt, favorable mirth.