søndag den 17. februar 2008

Wet Casements

When Eduard Raban, coming along the passage,

Walked into the open doorway, he saw that it

Was raining. It was not raining much.

Kafka, Wedding Preparations in the Country

The conception is interesting: to see, as though reflected

In streaming windowpanes, the look of others through

Their own eyes. A digest of their correct impressions of

Their self-analytical attitudes overlaid by your

Ghostly transparent face. You in falbalas

Of some distant but not too distant era, the cosmetics,

The shoes perfectly pointed, drifting (how long you

Have been drifting; how long I have too for that matter)

Like a bottle-imp toward a surface which can never be approached,

Never pierced through into the timeless energy of a present

Which would have its own opinions on these matters,

Are an epistemological snapshot of the processes

That first mentioned your name at some crowded cocktail

Party long ago, and someone (not the person addressed)

Overheard it and carried that name around in his wallet

For years as the wallet crumbled and bills slid in

And out of it. I want that information very much today,

Can’t have it, and this makes me angry.

I shall use my anger to build a bridge like that

Of Avignon, on which people may dance for the feeling

Of dancing on a bridge. I shall at last see my complete face

Reflected not in the water but in the worn stone floor of my bridge.

I shall keep to myself.

I shall not repeat others’ comments about me.

John Ashbery: Houseboat Days

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