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,

John Ashbery (1927–2017) was a poet whose many collections of poetry include Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror, which won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award.
Originally published:
July 1, 1985


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