The first typescript

[Page 17]

Ashbery: “The Skaters,” first typescript, page 17


As when
         through darkness and mist
                                   the pole-bringer
                    am convinced that                                 demandingly watches
I thinkXXXXX these things are of some importance.dele

Firstly, it is a preparing to go outward
Of no planet limiting the enjoyment
Of motion--hips free of embarrassment etc.

The figure 8 is a perfect symbol
Of the freedom to be gained in this kind of activity
The perspective lines of the barn are another and different kind of example
(Viz."Rigg's Farm, near Aysgarth, Wensleydale", or the "Sketch at Norton")dele
In which we escape ourselves--putrefying mass of prevarications etc.--
In remaining close to the limitations imposed.

Another example is this separate dying
Still keeping in mind the coachmen, servant girls, duchesses, etc. (cf. Jeremy Taylor)
Falling away, rhythm of too-wet snow, but parallel
With the kind of rhythm substituting for "meaning."

Looked at from this angle the problem of death and survival
Ages slightly. For the solutions are millionfold, like waves of wild geese returningdele
Scarcely we know where to turn to avoid suffering, I mean {in} springdele
There are so many places.
                           As a man will leave his wife

The question of separation--"corps et biens"--is rapidly answered
By movement, parallel, unwinding movement, in the nicest sense.
It is the balance between strings and winds, between winds and percussion, that provides the overture.

So, coachman-servile, or scullion-slatternly, but each place is taken.dele

The lines that draw nearer together are said to "vanish."
The point where they meet is their vanishing point.

* * *

Parallel lines, as they recede, vanish to a point.dele
Horizontal, receding lines, if they are below the level of the eyes, appear to rise.dele
Horizontal, receding lines, if they are above the level of the eyes, appear to descenddele

Spaces, as they recede, appear to become smaller.

But another, more urgent question imposes itesleXXXXXX itself--that of poverty.dele
How to excuse it to oneself? The wetness and coldness? Dirt and grime?
Uncomfortable, unsuitablemXlodgings, with a depressing view?dele
The peeled geranium flowering in a rusted tomato can,
Framed in a sickly ray of sunlight, a tragic chromo?

A broken mirror nailed up over a chipped enamel basin, whose turgid waters
Reflect the fly-specked calendar--with ecstatic Dutch girl clasping tulips--
On the far wall. Hanging from one nail, an hoXXld old velvet hat with a tattered bit of veiling--last remnant of former finery.dele
The bed well-made. The whole place scrupulously made clean, but cold and damp.dele

All this, wedged into a pyramidal ray of light, is my own invention.