From the Archives

Dream Overture

John Ashbery

Saddled with understanding,
It takes some getting used to,
The little bar
In which two people sat
And talked and smoked together,
The thirties.

In the streets outside it was clean,
But cheap. Inside all was fair—
All the air
That can only be inside.
There are men in cowboy hats,
Children who want no attention,
And get none

This is what understanding 
Creates: the chorus.
And if it is meant all ways,
On certain days
Becomes thin and plain again,
Trim.

John Ashbery was a poet whose many collections of poetry include Selected Poems, Flow Chart, And the Stars Were Shining, and Can You Hear, Bird.
Originally published:
July 1, 1985

Featured


From the Editors

Our Most-Read Poems of 2021



You Might Also Like

From the Archives

The Hug

Thom Gunn

Books

AIDS Elegies After Ashbery

Sam Huber

From the Archives

Strangers May Kiss

John Ashbery

Newsletter

Sign up for The Yale Review newsletter and keep up with news, events, and more.