What Is Poetry by John Ashbery

The medieval town, with frieze
Of boy scouts from Nagoya? The snow

That came when we wanted it to snow?
Beautiful images? Trying to avoid

Ideas, as in this poem? But we
Go back to them as to a wife, leaving

The mistress we desire? Now they
Will have to believe it

As we believed it. In school
All the thought got combed out:

What was left was like a field.
Shut your eyes, and you can feel it for miles around.

Now open them on a thin vertical path.
It might give us–what?–some flowers soon?

From: http://www.writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/88/what-is-poetry.html

Date: 1977

By: John Ashbery (1927- )

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