Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Crisis Will Be Very Soon

Here is an audio recording of John Ashbery (1927- ) reading one of his best poems, "How Much Longer Will I be Able To Inhabit the Divine Sepulchre." Initially, I posted the entire text of the poem here, but after getting a letter from Google last week reminding me of copyright infringement laws, I thought it would be best to post the first three stanzas along with the final two. For more of Ashbery's recorded readings,click here.

How much longer will I be able to inhabit the divine sepulchre
Of life, my great love? Do dolphins plunge bottomward
To find the light? Or is it rock
That is searched? Unrelentingly? Huh. And if some day

Men with orange shovels come to break open the rock
Which encases me, what about the light that comes in then?
What about the smell of the light?
What about the moss?

In pilgrim times he wounded me
Since then I only lie
My bed of light is a furnace choking me
With hell (and sometimes I hear salt water dripping).


Who are you, anyway?
And it is the color of sand,
The darkness, as it sifts through your hand
Because what does anything mean,

The ivy and the sand? That boat
Pulled up on the shore? Am I wonder,
Strategically, and in the light
Of the long sepulchre that hid death and hides me?

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