Leave the Hand In

By John Ashbery b. 1927 John Ashbery
Furthermore, Mr. Tuttle used to have to run in the streets.   
Now, each time friendship happens, they’re fully booked.   
Sporting with amaryllis in the shade is all fine and good,   
but when your sparring partner gets there first   
you wonder if it was all worth it. “Yes, why do it?”   
I’m on hold. It will take quite a lot for this music   
to grow on me. I meant no harm. I’ve helped him   
from getting stuck before. Dumb thing. All my appetites are friendly.   
Children too are free to go and come as they please.   
I ask you only to choose between us, then shut down this election.   
But don’t reveal too much of your hand at any given time.   
Then up and pipes the major, leave the hand in,   
or change the vows. The bold, enduring menace of courtship is upon us   
like the plague, and none of us can say what trouble   
will be precipitated once it has had its way with us.   
Our home is marshland. After dinner was wraparound.   
You got a tender little look at it.   

Outside, it never did turn golden.

Source: Poetry (March 2009).

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

March 2009
 John  Ashbery

Biography

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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POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

SCHOOL / PERIOD New York School

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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