The first typescript

[Page 22]

Ashbery: “The Skaters,” first typescript, page 22


     Only one thing exists: the fear of death. As widows are a prey to loan sharks
     And Cape Hatteras to hurricanoes, so man to the fear of dying, to the
     Certainty of falling. AND JUST SOXXXXXXXXXXX And just so it permits him to escape from time to timedele
     Amid fields of boarded-up posters: "Objects, as they recede, appear to become smaller
     And all horizontal receding lines have their vanishing point upon the line of sight,"
     Which is some comfort after all, for our volition to see must after all condition these phenomena to a certain degree.
     But it would be rash to derive too much confidence from a situation which, in the last analysis, scarcely warrants it.
     What I said first goes: sleep, death and hollyhocks
     And a new twilight stained, perhaps, a slightly unearthlier periwinkle blue,
     But no dramatic arguments for survival, and please no magic justification of results.

Uh.... stupid song... that weather bonnet protected
It is all gone now. But
The apothecary biscuits dwindled. All must pay.
In wedge-shaped zinc compartments, where a little spectraldele
Cliffs, teeming over into irony's
Gotten silently inflicted on the passes
Morning undermines, the daughter is.

   Its oval armor
   Protects it then and the poisonous filaments hanging down
   Are armor as well or are they the creature itself, screaming
   To protect itself? An aggressive weapon, as well as a plan of defense?
   Nature is still liable to pull a few fast ones, which is why I can't emphasize enough
   The importance of adherence to my original planXXXX program. Remember,dele
   No hope is to be authorized, except in exceptional cases
   To be decided on by me. In the meantime, back to dreaming
   Your only important activity. Last night I dreamt of a wayside fen.
   Full of leaves, such as the strawberry, potentilla, goose-grass, buttercup, dandelion and many wayside plants.dele
   When the stalk or principal vein is too succulent or thick, it would be well to pare it down, to permit of easier rubbing.dele

"The most difficult of all is an arrangement of hawthorn leaves
In different tones of colour, and intended for a title-page or elaborate mount,"dele
But the sawing motion of desire, throwing you a minute to one side
And then the other, will, I think, forgXXXX permit you to forget your dreams for a little while.dele
In reality you place far too much importance on them. "Free but Alone"
Ought to be your motto. If you dream at all, place a cloth over your face:
TheXXX Its expression of satisfied desire might be too much for some spectators.dele

   The west wind grazes my cheek, the droplets come pattering down
   What matter now, whether I wake or sleep?
   The west wind grazes my cheek, the droplets come pattering down
   A vast design shows in the meadows parched and trampled grasses
   In reality a game of "fox and geese" has been played there, but the real reality,
   Beyond truer imaginings, is that it is a mystical design, full of a certain signficance,