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This poem is taken from PN Review 171, Volume 33 Number 1, September - October 2006.

Two Poems John Ashbery


Autumn Tea Leaves

 All across Europe a partial eclipse
 is checking in: unsudden surprise
 and its sister, weary impatience,
 mark the flow once the sluices
 have been opened a little. Then it just goes,
 an impromptu horizon clipped to it.
                                                              Therefore,
 I ask what is special about this helix, if
 indeed anything is. Can you see it,
 its difference, distinguish among half-tones,
 fugitive tints, measure the rising level
 even as it suffocates us? Time was
 it all seemed like a party, even work
 before the workers were expelled for the day.
 Dreams were positive heaven then, not just
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