Thursday, February 3, 2011

As we know

Supposing that you are a wall
And can never contribute to nature anything
But the feeling of being alongside it,
A certain luxury, and now,
They come to you with the old matter
Of your solidity, that firmness,
That way you have of squaring off
The maps of distant hills, so that nature
Seems farther apart from itself because of you.

Is it this you have done?
And a certain grassy look, the color
Of old semi-precious stones, has to be
What's coming out of you, for the two of you.

And the mechanical reverie
is cut up by fits
Of blaring trumpets and alarms, in the night.

John Ashbery
The Litany, II
  As We Know
Penguin Classics, 1979©
Collected Poems, 1956-1987
Mark Ford, editor
The Library of America, 2008©


  1. Being a wall, others may climb you and see what is on the other side, or stand in front of you and give up hope.

  2. The text and the illustration propose a third way, dear Dink, and I, for one, have great confidence in it.

  3. Laurent, and the third way as illustrated is a very suitable option