Monday, September 4, 2017

Lyric for John Ashbery

There they sat, wine and smoking in lamplight,
Talking of themselves and things other people own
While I hung from the eaves, my ears turned
To their voices as if I knew the reason

One carnation fails and the other raises its petals
Like hands in a church with no ceiling—
They built the scenery, moving room
To room without losing the thread; fearless

Talk, and not a single break until minutes ago
When I heard the master had died, and the other
Who didn’t say much but listened with his eyes
Bit his lip and wrung his hands, uncontrollably

Sobbing in the armchair as if he had fallen
In a well, only the stars to admire from now on.
Like a whisper, I climbed down and hurried home.
Someone (let it be me!) has to write the next poem.

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