The second typescript

[Page 16]

Ashbery: “The Skaters,” second typescript, page 16



Now you must shield with your body if necessary (you
Remind me of some lummox I used to know) the secret your body is.
Yes, you are a secret and you must NEVER tell it--the vapor
Of the stars would quickly freeze you to death, like a tear-stiffened handkerchief
stetHeld [???] in some liquid air. No, but this secret is in some way the fuel ofdele
Your living apart. A hearth-fire picked up in the glow of polished
Wooden furniture and picture frames, something to turn away from and move back to--
Understand? This is all a part of you and the only part of you.

Here comes the answer: is it because apples grow
On the tree, or because it is green? One average day you may never know
How much is pushed back into the night, nor what may return
To sulk contentedly, half asleep and half awake
By the arm of a chair pointed into
The painting of the hearth-fire, or reach, in a comadele
? Out of the garden for foreign students.dele
leaveBe sure the giant would know falling asleep, but the frozen droplets revealdele
inA mixed situation in which the penis
Scored the offer by fixed marches into what is.
One black spot remained.

If I should... if I said you were there
The... towering peace aroundXXXXXX about us mightdele
Hold up the way it breaks--the monsoon
Move a pebble, to the plumbing contract, cataract.
There has got to be only-- there is going to be
An accent on the portable bunch of grapes
The time the mildewed seas cast thedele
Hygrometer too far away. You read into it
The meaning of tears, survey of our civilization .

Only one thing exists: the fear of death. As widows are a prey to loan sharks
And Cape Hatteras to hurricanoes, so man to the fear of dying, to the
Certainty of falling. And just so it permits him to escape from time to time
Amid fields of boarded-up posters: "Objects, as they recede, appear to become smaller
And all horizontal receding lines have their vanishing point upon the line of sight,"
Which is some comfort after all, for our volition to see must needs condition these phenomena to a certain degree.
But it would be rash to derive too much confidence from a situation which, in the last analysis, scarcely warrants it.
What I said first goes: sleep, death and hollyhocks
And a new twilight stained, perhaps, a slightly unearthlier periwinkle blue,
But no dramatic arguments for survival, and please no magic justification of results.dele