The second typescript

[Page 12]

Ashbery: “The Skaters,” second typescript, page 12


And, as into a tunnel, the voyage startsdele
Only, as I said, to be continued. The eyes of those left standing on the dock are wet
But ours are dry. Into the secretive, vaporous night with all of us!
Into the unknown, the unknown that loves us, the great unknown!

So man nightly
Sparingly descends
The birches and the hay          all of him
Pruned, erect for vital contact. As the separate mists of day slip
Uncomplainingly into the atmosphere. Loving you? The question sinks into

That mazy business
About writing or to have read it in some book
To silently move away. At Gonnosfanadiga the pumps
Working, urgent in the thickening sunset, like boys' shoulders

And you return to the question as to a calendar of November
Again and again consulting the surface of that enormous affair
I think not to have loved you                  but the music
Petting the enameled                      slow-imagined stars

A concert of dissatisfaction whereby           gutter and dust seep
To engross the mirrored image and its landscape.:dele
City in dirt, favorable mirth.dele

As when
           through darkness and mist
                                        the pole-bringer
                                                          demandingly watches
I am convinced that these things are of some importance.

Firstly, it is a preparing to go outward
Of no planet limiting the enjoyment
Of motion--hips free of embarrassment etc.

The figure 8 is a perfect symbol
Of the freedom to be gained in this kind of activity
The perspective lines of the barn are another and different kind of example
(Viz. "Rigg's Farm, near Aysgarth, Wensleydale," or the "Sketch at Norton")
In which we escape ourselves--putrefying mass of prevarications etc.--
In remaining close to the limitations imposed.

Another example is this separate dying
Still keeping in mind the coachmen, servant girls, duchesses,etc. (cf. Jeremy Taylor)
Falling away, rhythm of too-wet snow, but parallel
With the kind of rhythm substituting for "meaning."