The Double Dream of Spring

The Double Dream of Spring by John Ashbery Read Free Book Online

Book: The Double Dream of Spring by John Ashbery Read Free Book Online
Authors: John Ashbery
beside a window, one feels evening prevail
    Who is there who can receive its slanting veil
    And not regret day that bore it on its stream
    Whether day was joy or under evil’s regime
    Drawing us to the one and deploring the other
    Regretting the departure of all our brothers
    And all that made the day, including its stains.
    Whoever you may be O man who complains
    Not at your destiny, can you then doubt,
    When the moment arrives for you to stretch out,
    That remorse, a stinking jackal with subtle nose,
    Will come at the end to devour your repose?
    … Something gentle and something sad eftsoons
    In the flanks of our pale and realistic noons
    Holds with our soul a discourse without end
    The curtain rises on the afternoon wind
    Day sheds its leaves and now will soon be gone
    And already my adulthood seems to mourn
    Beside the reddish sunsets of the hollow vase
    As gently it starts to deepen and slowly to increase.

Young Man with Letter
    Another feeble, wonderful creature is making the rounds again,
    In this phraseology we become, as clouds like leaves
    Fashion the internal structure of a season
    From water into ice. Such an abstract can be
    Dazed waking of the words with no memory of what happened before,
    Waiting for the second click. We know them well enough now,
    Forever, from living into them, tender, frivolous and puzzled
    And we know that with them we will come out right.
    But a new question poses itself:
    Is it we who are being transformed?
    The light in the hallway seems to indicate it
    And the corrosive friends whose breath is so close
    It whistles, are changed to tattered pretexts
    As a sign, perhaps, that all’s well with us.
    Yet the quiet bickering on the edge of morning
    That advances to a steady drone by noon
    And to hollow rumblings by night: is there so much good then
    Blushing beyond the sense of it, standing straight up for others to view?
    Is it not more likely that such straining and puffing
    As commas produce, this ferment
    We take as suddenly our present
    Is our waltzing somewhere else, down toward the view
    But holding off? The spiked neon answers it
    Up against the charged black of a full sky:
    “We thought you knew, brothers not ancestors;
    Your time has come, has come to stay;
    The sieved dark can tell you about it.”

    All this time he had only been waiting,
    Not even thinking, as many had supposed.
    Now sleep wound down to him its promise of dazzling peace
    And he stood up to assume that imagination.
    There were others in the forest as close as he
    To caring about the silent outcome, but they had gotten lost
    In the shadows of dreams so that the external look
    Of the nearby world had become confused with the cobwebs inside.
    Yet all would finish at the end, or go undreamed of.
    It was a solid light in which a man and woman could kiss
    Yet dark and ambiguous as a cloakroom.
    No noise was to underline the notion of its being.
    Thus the thing grew heavy with the mere curve of being,
    As a fruit ripens through the long summer before falling
    Out of the idea of existence into the fact of being received,
    As many another guest. And the helloes and goodbyes are never stilled;
    They stay in the foreground and look back on it.
    It was still possible of course to imagine that an era had ended,
    Yet this time was marked also by new ideas of progress and decay.
    The old ideals had been cast aside and people were restless for the new,
    In a wholly different mass, so there was no joining,
    Only separate blocks of achievement and opinion
    With no relation to the conducive ether
    Which surrounded everything like the clear idea of a ruler.
    And it was that these finally flattened out or banded together
    Through forgetting, into one contemporaneous sea
    With no explanations to give. And the small enclave
    Of worried continuing began again, putting forth antennae into the night.
    How do we explain the harm, feeling
    We are always the effortless discoverers of our career,
    With each day digging the grave of

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