Sunday, 18 May 2008

John Ash's Disbelief (Selections)

You can get so far but no nearer

"Unwilling Suspension"

The aggression of the ordinary

"The Other Great Composers"

The whole house
was ordered in 1912 from Sears & Roebuck,
one of how many hundred editions of the same design,
and delivered in numbered parts by train.

"The House Comes to Rest in the Garden"

Is anyone more trustworthy than a newspaper?

"Croissant Outlets in Seattle"

They began again,--
under the chestnuts in flower, on the bridges,
under the marvelous clouds, besides the statues.
If anything could be saved they would save it.
If life was empty they would bring food and flowers,
wine and illustrated books.
They staggered home in the evenings
carrying bread and enormous newspapers,
still thinking of the bronze head
they had seen in the museum. Light flashed
from the rim of a lunette. Storms of laughter passed over them.
A party was always going on in the courtyard below,
and as the wall began to crack behind them
they studied the plans for the kiosk they would build.
It was the old urge not to be shut out of heaven,
not to shut heaven out. The sky kissed their hands.

"The Sudden Ending of Their Dream" (second of two stanzas)

Once in the cool, blue restaurant
of the Hotel Brown a friend said to me,--
'You don't realise how much your openness
frightens people: it hits them like a wave,'

and I smiled, not because his words
amused me, but because the scent of peppers
grilling in the kitchen overwhelmed me.
I could not think of ideas or people then--

only of the place, the scent, the way
long white curtains moved back and forth
across the boundaries of light and air.

* * *

[end of final section, 6]

Light poured down the steps of the Hotel Brown,
traversed by a cold, rising breeze, as if to say--

'You are welcome, for the moment. This
is an interval in your life. Soon you must look to
the plots and masks and backdrops of your next act.
Here all moments are intervals. It is like music and like loss.'

"The Hotel Brown Poems"

The more precise the investigation,
the more the 'unknown quantities' multiply.

"Unsentimental Journey"

The first snows have fallen. The yellow begins,
infinite and deep, to play with twenty shades of blue.

* * *

The others eat home-made bread, watered
with the characteristic tears of the epoch.

* * *

I love the clear water and the turbid star.

"From Lorca's Letters"

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