The first typescript

[Page 31]

Ashbery: “The Skaters,” first typescript, page 31


The Stamp Album   

Though certain of my eyes
Final meeting with you, the way we live through
These silent periods without fear or surprise
I believe I shall write you (here a red bird breathes,
a little red ink bleeds onto the page; you see
The mildness does go on) to tell you what your brother has done.

Looking through some of my old poems
To get inspiration for things to talk to you about
I had lost track of the time. It was only
With a secret feeling of delight
I realized tho XXXX all those around me had long since gone to beddele
And I all alone in the eye of darkness.

These moments, one catches
As they come along, afraid to believe too much
In the happiness that might result
Or confide too much of one's love and fear, even in
Oneself. It was thus that I turned to the dark
As to a mirror, an enchanted smile.

These moments of the "population"
Of the night by the body are not wasted:
The next day the body returns
In costumes "of all nations" holding hands
In a chain of freedom. And,
As one might back a car into a garage
I remained in my chair, steady with sleep, with the desire of sleep.

I think sometimes the things you take up in your hands
Mean all of you, and the proof of this
Is that you are always part of me
In my nearest dreams. In the forest of unknowledge,
Sege overtopping the canyon of unproved reality
Deeper thanXX man's soul, and the tremendous sun, rising,dele

That is the proof of everything
And, in reality, proves so little. Why is it then,
We are obliged to turn sideways
Facing each other in the tremendous, but embraceable,
Glare that subdues everything around us?
This is space in which only we may stand.