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This poem is taken from PN Review 74, Volume 16 Number 6, July - August 1990.

Two Poems John Ashbery

In My Way / On My Way

Pardon my appearance. I am old now,
though someday I shall be young again. Not, it's true, in the near future.
Yet one cherishes a hope
of being young before today's children are young grandparents,
before the gipsy camp of today has picked up and moved
into the invisible night, that sees,
and sees on and on like a ritual conscience
that bathes us, from whose dense curves we know
we shall never escape. We like it here as the trial begins,
the warming trend, more air, even the malicious smile in the prefecture garden -
would we like it as much there? No, for we only like what we already
know, what is familiar. Anything different
is to be our ruin, as who stands
on pillars and pediments of the city,
judging us mournfully, from whose cresting gaze is no
turning away, only peering back into the blackness of the pit of water of night.
...


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