A Worldly Country: New Poems by John Ashbery

By John Ashbery

Thrill of a Romance

It's assorted if you have hiccups.
every little thing is—so many blissful arms competing
to your recognition, a headband, a pant of soot,
or simply a blast of silence from a radio.
what's it? That's so you might examine
in your dismay whilst, on the finish of a protracted queue
within the cafeteria, tray in hand, they inform you the gate closed down
after the second one international conflict. Syracuse was once declared capital
of a kingdom in malaise, however the directorate
had different, hidden targets. To proclaim good judgment
a casualty of fact used to be one.

Everyone's solitude (and ensuing promiscuity)
perfumed the byways of villages we had proposal civilized.
I observed you looking ahead to a streetcar and pressed ahead.
unluckily, you have been just a baby in armor. Now while ribald toasts
sail around a desk too reasonable laid out, why the implications
are just airborne dirt and dust, disorder and previous age. friendly thoughts
are only that. So I channel no matter what
into my contingency, a vein of mercury
that retains breaking out, better up, extra on time
at any time when. Dirndls noticed with out of date flora,
worn within the urban back, advertise open discussion.

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Sample text

Eccentrics die or live, but each casts starshine on the pebbled surface, commanded to sleep, stay or recuse a melting pince-nez, spin out a foppish hour. 24 The Handshake, the Cough, the Kiss For the clear voice suddenly singing, high up in the convent wall, The scent of the elder bushes, the sporting prints in the hall, The croquet matches in summer, the handshake, the cough, the kiss, There is always a wicked secret, a private reason for this. —w. h. auden, “At Last the Secret Is Out” When they passed through a city, it was others knew it first.

She’s probably on the way back from school, calling to you in your grown sister’s voice. Can we have habits and still rattle on like this, smoothly, from one decade to the next? It all depends on what your pappy found behind the briar bush, with you in seventh heaven, the unlikeliest ward to be trapped in, once over the stile. The vehicle of winter begins its slide, 44 slow avalanche toward the truest sentiments, encrusted in rime, or left out in the open for everyone to enjoy, slave master and commoner alike.

You rest the same. 53 A Small Table in the Street Less and less sightly, Lord! The cheap shots you sent us yesterday are back today in force, mouthing with precision whatever wisdom is printed on the wrapper’s verso. Let no one draw strength from that. Our climate turns its face toward the heights again. This would have been a powerful soul adventure in the old calendar. Now it’s just random effusiveness: firecrackers and maybe shots in adjacent streets. Well, have the car sent round while we stumble toward this strange thing: an anomaly.

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