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The archipelago.

Well, folks, and how about a run for the sister islands? You can see them from where you stand-- will you barter vision for the sinking feeling of lumps of clay? The daffodils were out in force, as were, improbably, the nasturtiums, which come along much later, as a rule. But so help me, there they were. She said, may I offer you some? His tangling so guttered him, all he said was "Boats along the way." Really, there are so many kinds of everything it halts you when you think about it, which is all the time, really--oh, not consciously, that would be a waste, but in sly corners, like a rabbit sitting up straight, waiting for what? We can study drawing and arithmetic, and the signs are still far away, like a painted sign fading on the side of a building. Oh, there is so much to know. If only we weren't old-fashioned, and could swallow one word like a pill, and it would branch out prettily to all the other words, like the sun following behind the cloud shadow on a hummock, and our basket would be full, too ripe for the undoing, yet too spare for sleep, and the temperature would be exactly right. Miserere! Instead I am browsed on by endless students, clumps of them, receding to this horizon and the next one-- all the islands have felt it have had their rest disturbed by the knocking knees of foals, by kites' shrieking. And to think I could have had it for the undoing of it, snug in the tree-house, my plans open to the world's casual inspection, like an unzipped fly-- but tell us, you must have had more experiences than that? Oh the cross-hatched rain, fanning out from my crow's feet, the angry sea that always calms down, the argument that ended in a smile. These are tracks that lovers' feet fit. But in the end they flag you down.
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Author:Ashbery, John
Publication:The American Poetry Review
Date:Jan 1, 1993
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