Last Month

By John Ashbery b. 1927 John Ashbery
No changes of support—only
Patches of gray, here where sunlight fell.
The house seems heavier
Now that they have gone away.   
In fact it emptied in record time.   
When the flat table used to result
A match recedes, slowly, into the night.
The academy of the future is   
Opening its doors and willing
The fruitless sunlight streams into domes,   
The chairs piled high with books and papers.

The sedate one is this month’s skittish one   
Confirming the property that,
A timeless value, has changed hands.
And you could have a new automobile
Ping pong set and garage, but the thief   
Stole everything like a miracle.
In his book there was a picture of treason only   
And in the garden, cries and colors.

John Ashbery, “Last Month” from Rivers and Mountains. Copyright © 1962, 1966 by John Ashbery. Reprinted with the permission of Georges Borchardt, Inc. on behalf of the author.

Source: The Mooring of Starting Out: The First Five Books of Poetry (Ecco Press, 1997)

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Poet John Ashbery b. 1927

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

SCHOOL / PERIOD New York School

Subjects Home Life, Relationships

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 John  Ashbery


John Ashbery is recognized as one of the greatest twentieth-century American poets. He has won nearly every major American award for poetry, including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Yale Younger Poets Prize, the Bollingen Prize, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Griffin International Award, and a MacArthur “Genius” Grant. Ashbery's poetry challenges its readers to discard all presumptions about the aims, themes, . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Home Life, Relationships

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

SCHOOL / PERIOD New York School

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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