The first typescript

[Page 53]

Ashbery: “The Skaters,” first typescript, page 53


I'm going. It can escape me.
When we look through a railway tunnel, it looks as though the way out
At the other end were smaller than the way in at this,
But we know they are of the same size.
The lines of brass round the keyhole follow the same rules.
The lines that draw nearer together are said to "vanish."

Objects, as they recede, appear to become smaller.
All horizontal receding lines have their vanishing point upon the line of sight.

The receding lines of the road, the grass edges, the walls--
All parallel retiring lines have the same vanishing point as each others.dele
The front of the farmhouse is so much foreshortened
The white feathers of chickens in the snow seem outlined in gray or black.
The frozen pump's encrusted with ice which seems gray-blue against the white of the snow.
The lamp casts monstrous shadows. All flies upward. My gosh, white scraps
The mostXXXXXXXX From the scrap-basket, that were the snow-chickensdele
Fly upward as to some ceiling-roost, covered with platinum dust.
The rooster screaming among the grape and hawthorn leaves is upended.
A shallow wooden drawer shot open; what looked like dust-covered, wooden discs spilled out onto the turkey carpet
Whose linted scarlet threads adhered to the porous surface.
The color will have penetrated the muslin and gone a little way into the wool
Still irregular grayish patches still stood out on the dust-covered part of the surface
Contrasting with the newly-stretched pleats, like a dark delta in some flat, sandy river valley;
An illusion destroyed by the ham-shaped flecks of leaves spotting the regular texture
(You will find that leaves are not alike in character: some are covered with hairs, like the mullein's, or have a strong smell;
Perhaps you had better begin upon such leaves.) The spilled threadsdele
Merged upward with the moans of the leaves; the boiler emitted one last small white puff.dele

Blazing our nights with spectral thunder, the young polyphonist
Grows, precisely, away from the musical night eX invoked by prestidigitation:dele
A smoke-covered alley. A sail
Which vanishes has no more adherence.
Therefore we should give over this absence, petrifying coal-dust,
The way legions of imps do. "The ship came sailing up the," and so on,
But as the water surface ripples, the whole light changes. Skies are aghast.
Some defacing of private property goes on, and the wild life in this region is polluted.