Interesting Ashbery Compound-Words or Short-ish Phrases

From Shadow Train

(This should also be done with Ashbery’s titles, which are equally innovative, like the titles of Wallace Stevens’s, and bring forth ideas from their very innovation.  In that sense they are kind of like koans.)

“unified facade”

“incisive shadow”

“plain level”

“dreamed role-pattern”

“green squirearchy / Of the dandelions”

“the pastoral doffing”

“rickety heights”

“a mysterious creeping motion”

“a backward innocence”

“the insulted smoke jerks ceilingward”

“Into the similarity of firmaments”

“In sullen peace”

“only in unholy solitude”

“Grazing historically”

“this undiagnosable / Turning”

“the blood of light”

“stunted fig”

“This protected summer of high, white clouds”

” ‘doorstep in the wind’ ”

“the ooze of foliage and blue sunlight”

“noon plums”

“dispirited / Illustration”

“the mosquitoey summer night light”

“the stingy scenario”

“the heaven of attitudes our chance was”

“the pure tear”

“In strong, faded colors”

“individuals reveling in our separateness, yet twined / Together at the top by our hair, like branches”

“the gravity / You had to overcome to reach this admittedly unimpressive / Stage in the chain of delusions leading to your freedom”

“political wisdom”

“unsightly eruptions”


“the weather of the soul, vandalized, out-at-elbow”

“For the clamor / Was drawing it all away, as in a parade”

“uneventful sidewalks”

“Transient shining”

“amiable boors”

“the wallpaper of dreams”

“a thinking man’s charmed fragment”

“decayed and decaying ancestors”

“the enormous effrontery that appearances put on things, / And will continue to for some time.”

“solemn, / Candy-colored ideas”

“You remain a sane, yet sophisticated person: / Rooted in twilight, dreaming, a piece of traffic.”

“pruning young spring thoughts”

“that narrow alley / That threads the whole center of the city”

“Take a sip of your mother’s drink”

“mists / And certain other parts of antediluvian forests still / Hassle this downtown mysteriously”

“a collective notion of romance”

“waiting for the expected to happen / According to a preordained system of its own devising”

“A kind of amplitude”

“melting protection from the sun”

“the easy spoke-movement of the hopeless expanse”

“the green heartbreak / Of the eternally hysterical sun hoses down the gutters / And tender walkways where we first became aware / Of a confession”

“a sheaf of papyruslike, idle imaginings / And identifyings”

“the paper-thin / But very firm dimension of ordinary education”

“a photograph / Of someone smiling at a funeral”

“instrument table”

“Rip out the stitches of the sky”

“The surprise box lunch of the rest of his life”

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