The second typescript

[Page 9]

Ashbery: “The Skaters,” second typescript, page 9


The wind soughs carefully in the umbrella pines.dele
How nice to lie on one's back, looking updele
Into that bird-hopping world of flecked sunlight and shadow.dele
But how is it that you are always indoors, peering at too-heavily cancelled stamps through a greasy magnifying glass?
And slowly the incoherencies of day melt in
A general wishful thinking of night
To peruse certain stars over the bay.
Cataracts of peace pour from the poised heavens
And only fear of snakes prevents us from passing the night in the open air.
The day is definitely at an end.

Old heavens, you used to tweak above us,
Standing like rain whenever a salvo... Old heavens,
You lying there above the old, but not ruined, fort,
Can you hear, there, what I am saying?

For it is you I am parodying,
Your invisible denials. And the almost correct impressions
Corroborated by newsprint, which is so fine.
I call to you there, but I do not think that you will answer me.

For I am condemned to drum my fingers
On the closed lid of this piano, this tedious planet, earth
As it winks to you through the aspiring, growing distances,
A last spark [???]XXXXX before the night.dele

There was much to be said in favor of storms
But you seem to have abandoned them in favor of endless light.
I cannot say that I think the change much of an improvement.
There is something fearful in about in these summer nights that go on forever...dele

We are nearing the Moorish coast, I think, in a bateau.
I wonder if I will have any friends there
Whether the future will be kinder to me than the past, for example,
And am all set to be put out, finding it to be not.

Still, I am prepared for this voyage, and for anything else you may care to mention.
Not that I am not afraid, but there is very little time left.
You have probably made travel arrangements, and know the feeling.
Suddenly, one morning, the little train arrives in the station, but oh, so big