The first typescript

[Page 34]

Ashbery: “The Skaters,” first typescript, page 34


Will be ablaze with drops of rain
Like theXXX tears in the eye of sad presidentsdele
On these endless rolls of cancelled stamps.dele
In the forest of unknowledge, sedge
Overtops the canyon of unprovedn realitydele
And thought is drowned out by the roaring of the cascades of ignorance;

That the proof of everything
Really proves so little. With still the madness
Of everything barking through the years.
Perhaps sleep is only another thing, a piece of wood

You stopped to p XXXXXXXXXXXXX stooped to pick up years ago.dele

Shortly after that the bird flew curiously away.dele
Or crumb of moss, too tiny to be clearly distinguished.

The day was gloves.

How far from the usual statement
About time, ice--the weather itself had gone.

I mean this: through the years
You have approached an inventory.
And it is now that tomorrow
Is going to be the climax of your casual
statement about yourself, begun
So long ago in humility and false quietude.

The sands are frantic
In the hourglass. But there is time
To change, to utterly destroy
That too-familiar image
Lurking in the glass
Each morning, at the ege of the mirror.

The thing is that your continuitydele
Is never what is expected,dele
Thus... In the end we have yourdele
Complete image just the samedele
Just as the setting of a play never changes.dele
We areXXXXXX The voyage has not yet begun.dele

The train is still in the station.
You only dreamed that it was in motion.
So there is freedom to be moved
Again. To slowly raise oneself
Hand over hand, lifting one's entire weight
By oneself. Forget there was ever