The second typescript

[Page 24]

Ashbery: “The Skaters,” second typescript, page 24


Engineer Y said, "The clouds hang in the heavensdele
Like hungry hawks above a cornfield." It is timedele
To go inside now, and curl up with the misery of a good book.?dele

The wind has stopped, but the magnolia blossoms still
Fall with a plop onto the dry, spongy earth; .dele
The evening air is pestiferous with midges.

There is only one way of completing the puzzle:
By finding a bat[?]XXX hog-shaped piece that is light green shading to buff at one side.dele

It is the beginning of March, a few
Russet and yellow wall-flowers are blooming in the border
Protected by moss-grown, fragmentary masonry.
Termites are at work in the long central roof-beam.dele

One morning you appear at breakfast
Dressed, as for a voyage journey, in your worst suit of clothes.dele
And over a pot of coffee, or, more accurately, rusted water,
Announce your intention of leaving me alone in this cistern-like house.
In your own best interests I shall decide not to believe you.

I think there is a funny sandbar
Beyond the old boardwalk
Your intrigue makes you understand.

"At thirty-two I came up to take my examination at the university.
The U wax factory, it seemed, wanted a new general manager.
I was the sole applicant for the job, but it was refused me.
So I have preferred to finish my life
In the quietude of this floral retreat."

The tiresome old man is telling us his life story.

Trout are circling under water--

Masters of eloquence
Glisten on the pages of your book
Like mountains veiled by water or the sky.

The "second position"
Comes in the seventeenth year,
Watching the meaningless gyrations of flies above a sill.