by John Ashbery
These are amazing: each
Joining a neighbor, as though speech
Were a still performance.
Arranging by chance
To meet as far this morning
From the world as agreeing
With it, you and I
Are suddenly what the trees try
To tell us we are:
That their merely being there
Means something; that soon
We may touch, love, explain.
And glad not to have invented
Such comeliness, we are surrounded:
A silence already filled with noises,
A canvas on which emerges
A chorus of smiles, a winter morning.
Placed in a puzzling light, and moving,
Our days put on such reticence
These accents seem their own defense.
You are amazing: leaves and branch
Descending, rising, wind and rain.
Tremors, ever again the same
yet always changing.
This morning meet we each one
Tomorrow the year has past and gone.
The words like these are written. Wrote.
Over, over again, and on.
Never the same, though copied, true.
Never twice, but once, once.
Surprising to me, to you, but not
a surprise at all. Perfect. Expected.
Each leaf for this year designed before
Last year's edition pressed and dry.
No more breezes moving it, unless
it is taken out of a box, to relive its dreams
Which are so much like this years dreams
but without you.
Of course these leaves still hold their tone -
their song is still being sung.