And the Stars Were Shining by John Ashbery

By John Ashbery

Witty but heartbreaking, conversational but richly lyrical, John Ashbery's 16th poetry assortment showcases a mastery uniquely his own.

And the celebrities have been Shining initially seemed in 1994, towards the midpoint of a startlingly artistic interval in Ashbery's lengthy profession, in which the nice American poet released no fewer than 9 books in ten years. the gathering brings jointly greater than fifty compact, jewellike, intensely felt poems, together with the well known "Like a Sentence" ("How little we all know, / and after we be aware of it!") and the lyrical, deeply relocating thirteen-part name poem famous as one of many author's maximum. This assortment is Ashbery at his such a lot available, swish, and elegiac.

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49 6. Murmur of house flies in the window where The twisted strips hung softening in the heat, Swaying and trembling as the stuck flies, slimed And furious, struggled across an inch wide desert. Some were caught by both feet while the wings whirred And buzzed as the body tried to lift free of What wouldn’t let it. And some with one wing caught, The other whirring, could only sideways slide And crawl around itself against itself Over and over in a ragged circle, Sliding and crawling till it finally stopped.

Leaves signaling about it, whether they are or not, something about what can’t be thought about, impenetrable, irreducible, as the recurring no time of the ice you dream between you and an open door you cannot enter, where the ones you come for, 24 look for, and even think you see inside it looking out, are looking out, but not at you, and only briefly, from a dark that all at once is darker for the ice that flashes up so brightly that it blinds. 25 Disaster Movies Why can’t he look away as it gathers toward him Down the long avenue, that giant wave That rises high as the high rises to break Over the tiny multitude that scatter before it, Or the absolute zero of the snow blast Shriveling bodies instantly to crystal, Or oceans sizzling as the asteroid falls, The postapocalyptic sleep walk of The lucky ones in a gray silt of air, Himself among them stumbling over rubble, Searching for wife or child, and then not searching?

Who else but you compels this crying out to you from deep inside the soundless vacuum of your being where nothing can be heard at all? 35 Emissary Out on the very edge of the farthest inkling of beyond, beyond the background echo of the gone beginning, at the heat death of the last bit shivering back into the nothing it had been before before proliferating out in an accidental chain of causal chains of particles swirling mindlessly to dis- and recombine through eons after eons into the minds composed of particles that told the story of the journey out of nothing back to nothing across the pages of a book high on a shelf in a library long since 36 disassembled into what at the end will be our only emissary—that final trace, our boatman made of the ghostly stuff he ferries, of the boat too and the black water that isn’t water, or boat or boatman rowing to no shore.

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