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About this Poem 

“It’s difficult for me to comment on the writing of a poem. It seems to be a process of discovering something and then forgetting it. ‘Experts disagree’ reminds me of Laura Riding’s book title Experts are Puzzled. Both of us, I think, are suspicious of experts, but in my case it’s a question of finding out whether we were formerly unhappy or sublime. The last line crystallizes for me the desperate hope of every poet when writing. Let’s hope ‘there’s a way to do this.’”
John Ashbery

Honestly,

we could send you out there
to join the cackle squad,
but hey, that highly accomplished,
thinly regarded equestrian—well there was no way
he was going to join the others’ field trip.
Wouldn’t put his head on the table.
But here’s the thing:

They had owned great dread,
knew of a way to get away from here
through ice and smoke
always clutching her fingers, like it says
to do.

Once we were passionate about the police,
yawned in the teeth of pixels,
but a far rumor blanked us out.
We bathed in moonshine.
Now, experts disagree.
Were we unhappy or sublime?
We’ll have to wait until the next time
an angel comes rapping at the door
to rejoice docently.

(I know there’s a way to do this.)
 

Copyright © 2015 by John Ashbery. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 1, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2015 by John Ashbery. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 1, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

John Ashbery

John Ashbery

John Ashbery was born in Rochester, New York, on July 28, 1927.

by this poet

poem
What the bad news was
became apparent too late
for us to do anything good about it.

I was offered no urgent dreaming,
didn't need a name or anything.
Everything was taken care of.

In the medium-size city of my awareness
voles are building colossi.
The blue room is over there.

He put out no feelers.
The day
poem
Anyone, growing up in a space you hadn't used yet
would've done the same: bother the family's bickering
to head straight into the channel. My, those times
crackled near about us, from sickly melodrama
instead of losing, and the odd confusion...confusion.

I thought of it then, and in the mountains.
During the
poem
Kind of empty in the way it sees everything, the earth gets to its feet and 
        salutes the sky. More of a success at it this time than most
        others it is. The feeling that the sky might be in the back of someone's
        mind. Then there is no telling how many there are. They grace

collected in

collection
On September 3, 2017, John Ashbery died at his home in Hudson, New Yor...