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This poem is taken from PN Review 130, Volume 26 Number 2, November - December 1999.

Seven Poems John Ashbery

What is Written

What is written on the paper
on the table by the bed? Is there something there
or was that from another last night?

Why is that bird ignoring us,
pausing in mid-flight, to take another direction?
Is it feelings of guilt about the spool
it dropped on the bank of a stream
into which it eventually rolled. Dark spool,
moving oceanward now - what other fate could have been yours?
You could have lived in a drawer
for many years, imprisoned, a ward of the state. Now you are free
to call the shots pretty much as they come.
Poor, bald thing.


Sacred and Profane Dances

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