Get Your Premium Membership

John Ashbery Poems

A collection of select John Ashbery famous poems that were written by John Ashbery or written about the poet by other famous poets. PoetrySoup is a comprehensive educational resource of the greatest poems and poets on history.

Don't forget to view our John Ashbery home page with links to biographical information, articles, and more poems that may not be listed here.

See also:

by Ashbery, John
 Something strange is creeping across me.
La Celestina has only to warble the first few bars
Of "I Thought about You" or something mellow from
Amadigi di Gaula for everything--a mint-condition can
Of Rumford's Baking Powder, a celluloid earring, Speedy
Gonzales, the latest from Helen Topping Miller's fertile
Escritoire, a sheaf of suggestive pix on greige, deckle-edged
Stock--to come clattering through the rainbow trellis
Where Pistachio Avenue...Read More



by Ashbery, John
 The first of the undecoded messages read: "Popeye sits 
in thunder,
Unthought of. From that shoebox of an apartment,
From livid curtain's hue, a tangram emerges: a country."
Meanwhile the Sea Hag was relaxing on a green couch: "How 
pleasant
To spend one's vacation en la casa de Popeye," she 
scratched
Her cleft chin's solitary hair. She remembered spinach

And was going to ask Wimpy...Read More

by Ashbery, John
 Kind of empty in the way it sees everything, the earth gets to its feet andsalutes the sky. More of a success at it this time than most others it is. The feeling that the sky might be in the back of someone's mind. Then there is no telling how many there are. They grace everything--bush and tree--to take...Read More

by Ashbery, John
 The man with the red hat
And the polar bear, is he here too? 
The window giving on shade, 
Is that here too? 
And all the little helps, 
My initials in the sky, 
The hay of an arctic summer night? 

The bear
Drops dead in sight of the window.
Lovely tribes have just moved to the north.
In the flickering evening the martins...Read More

by Ashbery, John
 Far from the Rappahannock, the silent
Danube moves along toward the sea.
The brown and green Nile rolls slowly
Like the Niagara's welling descent.
Tractors stood on the green banks of the Loire
Near where it joined the Cher.
The St. Lawrence prods among black stones
And mud. But the Arno is all stones.
Wind ruffles the Hudson's
Surface. The Irawaddy is overflowing.
But the yellowish, gray Tiber
Is contained...Read More



by Ashbery, John
 What name do I have for you? 
Certainly there is not name for you
In the sense that the stars have names
That somehow fit them. Just walking around, 

An object of curiosity to some, 
But you are too preoccupied
By the secret smudge in the back of your soul
To say much and wander around, 

Smiling to yourself and others.
It gets to...Read More

by Ashbery, John
 Just when I thought there wasn't room enough
for another thought in my head, I had this great idea--
call it a philosophy of life, if you will.Briefly,
it involved living the way philosophers live,
according to a set of principles. OK, but which ones?

That was the hardest part, I admit, but I had a
kind of dark foreknowledge of what it would be...Read More

by Ashbery, John
 As Parmigianino did it, the right hand
Bigger than the head, thrust at the viewer
And swerving easily away, as though to protect
What it advertises. A few leaded panes, old beams,
Fur, pleated muslin, a coral ring run together
In a movement supporting the face, which swims
Toward and away like the hand
Except that it is in repose. It is what is
Sequestered. Vasari says,...Read More

by Ashbery, John
 Orpheus liked the glad personal quality
Of the things beneath the sky. Of course, Eurydice was a part
Of this. Then one day, everything changed. He rends
Rocks into fissures with lament. Gullies, hummocks
Can't withstand it. The sky shudders from one horizon
To the other, almost ready to give up wholeness.
Then Apollo quietly told him: "Leave it all on earth.
Your lute, what point?...Read More