By John Ashbery b. 1927 John Ashbery
We were sitting there, and   
I made a joke about how   
it doesn’t dovetail: time,   
one minute running out   
faster than the one in front   
it catches up to.   
That way, I said,   
there can be no waste.   
Waste is virtually eliminated.   

To come back for a few hours to   
the present subject, a painting,   
looking like it was seen,   
half turning around, slightly apprehensive,   
but it has to pay attention   
to what’s up ahead: a vision.   
Therefore poetry dissolves in   
brilliant moisture and reads us   
to us.   
A faint notion. Too many words,   
but precious.

Source: Poetry (March 2009).


This poem originally appeared in the March 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

March 2009
 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 Living, Time & Brevity, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets, Language & Linguistics

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

SCHOOL / PERIOD New York School

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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