Kind of empty in the way it sees everything, the earth gets to its feet and salutes the sky. More of a success at it this time than most others it is. The feeling that the sky might be in the back of someone's mind. Then there is no telling how many there are. They grace everything--bush and tree--to take the roisterer's mind off his caroling--so it's like a smooth switch back. To what was aired in their previous conniption fit. There is so much to be seen everywhere that it's like not getting used to it, only there is so much it never feels new, never any different. You are standing looking at that building and you cannot take it all in, certain details are already hazy and the mind boggles. What will it all be like in five years' time when you try to remember? Will there have been boards in between the grass part and the edge of the street? As long as that couple is stopping to look in that window over there we cannot go. We feel like they have to tell us we can, but they never look our way and they are already gone, gone far into the future--the night of time. If we could look at a photograph of it and say there they are, they never really stopped but there they are. There is so much to be said, and on the surface of it very little gets said. There ought to be room for more things, for a spreading out, like. Being immersed in the details of rock and field and slope --letting them come to you for once, and then meeting them halfway would be so much easier--if they took an ingenuous pride in being in one's blood. Alas, we perceive them if at all as those things that were meant to be put aside-- costumes of the supporting actors or voice trilling at the end of a narrow enclosed street. You can do nothing with them. Not even offer to pay. It is possible that finally, like coming to the end of a long, barely perceptible rise, there is mutual cohesion and interaction. The whole scene is fixed in your mind, the music all present, as though you could see each note as well as hear it. I say this because there is an uneasiness in things just now. Waiting for something to be over before you are forced to notice it. The pollarded trees scarcely bucking the wind--and yet it's keen, it makes you fall over. Clabbered sky. Seasons that pass with a rush. After all it's their time too--nothing says they aren't to make something of it. As for Jenny Wren, she cares, hopping about on her little twig like she was tryin' to tell us somethin', but that's just it, she couldn't even if she wanted to--dumb bird. But the others--and they in some way must know too--it would never occur to them to want to, even if they could take the first step of the terrible journey toward feeling somebody should act, that ends in utter confusion and hopelessness, east of the sun and west of the moon. So their comment is: "No comment." Meanwhile the whole history of probabilities is coming to life, starting in the upper left-hand corner, like a sail.
John Ashbery - 1927-2017
The first of the undecoded messages read: "Popeye sits in thunder, Unthought of. From that shoebox of an apartment, From livid curtain's hue, a tangram emerges: a country." Meanwhile the Sea Hag was relaxing on a green couch: "How pleasant To spend one's vacation en la casa de Popeye," she scratched Her cleft chin's solitary hair. She remembered spinach And was going to ask Wimpy if he had bought any spinach. "M'love," he intercepted, "the plains are decked out in thunder Today, and it shall be as you wish." He scratched The part of his head under his hat. The apartment Seemed to grow smaller. "But what if no pleasant Inspiration plunge us now to the stars? For this is my country." Suddenly they remembered how it was cheaper in the country. Wimpy was thoughtfully cutting open a number 2 can of spinach When the door opened and Swee'pea crept in. "How pleasant!" But Swee'pea looked morose. A note was pinned to his bib. "Thunder And tears are unavailing," it read. "Henceforth shall Popeye's apartment Be but remembered space, toxic or salubrious, whole or scratched." Olive came hurtling through the window; its geraniums scratched Her long thigh. "I have news!" she gasped. "Popeye, forced as you know to flee the country One musty gusty evening, by the schemes of his wizened, duplicate father, jealous of the apartment And all that it contains, myself and spinach In particular, heaves bolts of loving thunder At his own astonished becoming, rupturing the pleasant Arpeggio of our years. No more shall pleasant Rays of the sun refresh your sense of growing old, nor the scratched Tree-trunks and mossy foliage, only immaculate darkness and thunder." She grabbed Swee'pea. "I'm taking the brat to the country." "But you can't do that—he hasn't even finished his spinach," Urged the Sea Hag, looking fearfully around at the apartment. But Olive was already out of earshot. Now the apartment Succumbed to a strange new hush. "Actually it's quite pleasant Here," thought the Sea Hag. "If this is all we need fear from spinach Then I don't mind so much. Perhaps we could invite Alice the Goon over"—she scratched One dug pensively—"but Wimpy is such a country Bumpkin, always burping like that." Minute at first, the thunder Soon filled the apartment. It was domestic thunder, The color of spinach. Popeye chuckled and scratched His balls: it sure was pleasant to spend a day in the country.