Coasts are loud. Silences sin
at the meander of their doing.
All along the gatepost was wrong
as we suffered under that song,
wrong to shake the apron out
with crumbs the children marked
the way back with after it got dark.
Spoon the leaven in, there is more
to the hoods than flaps and strings.
A margin oozes.
It’s bakelite he said. I think it’s bakelite.
There’s so much more we know,
time that wraps us in a swarm,
mongrels in nettle tilth,
percentages of doubt that shift unease,
bright locks along the shore.
I was once happy abed,
I could see it coming like a beach
then very fast. We are here to tell
some account of ourselves,
grab favor from the circumcised gods,
be replaced in a box or pocket.
Nothing coming from that quarter,
it behooveth the moth to inch back
against the steep Atlantic tides.
I found us here with toy fish,
choice clusters of whatever
you desired in time past,
rushing in to fill the unthinkable well.
From The Poetry Review Vol 94 No 1 (Spring 2004)
'The Weather, For Example' from Where I Shall Wander by John Ashbery © 2005. Reprinted by permission of George Borchardt, Inc., on behalf of the author.