There is a chastening to it,
a hymnlike hemline.
Hyperbole in another disguise.
Dainty foresters walk through it.
On the splashed polyester walls
a tooth fairy held court. And that was like mud gravy,
a sop to the reigning idées reçues.
It’s all too—
It makes you want to scream
and hug your neighbor like he was your best friend.
I’m over my head with it.
Suddenly there was a travelling salesman with balls,
like an ant on V-J day.
And easing through the night we felt scoops
of clay like tired ice cream.
Here, here’s your vigil. Now get it out of here. One of us—
Gus the plumber—is entranced.
Of course you could let them come to you
as if you’d asked, and don’t blame it on me
when they get silted up to the snow line.
A master craftsman is coming to stay with you, to save you.
Yes and my horse knew all about this
but wasn’t letting on
until the time you and I got over the fix on his importance he had,
only to discover another’s hip-huggers in the brown dust
under the mailbox.
And we all came quietly.
In what axis I’ve heard you ringing—
there is no time to do that.
This is no time to do that.
The passion police are on your case
and we’ll get back to picking winners anon, at eventide, asunder.
Go blow. Tremble. Decipher. Mix and match.
Maybe. We’ll see.
© John Ashbery