More Feedback feedback

The following poem appears in the latest edition of the London Review of Books. I've read it four times. If anyone has the barest inkling of a baldy clue what the hell this bloke's going on about, please leave an explanation in the comments.

More Feedback by John Ashbery

The passionate are immobilised.
The case-hardened undulate over walls
of the library, in more or less expressive poses.
The equinox again, not knowing
whether to put the car in reverse
or slam on the brakes at the entrance
to the little alley. Seasons belong
to others than us. Our work keeps us
up late nights; there is no more joy
or sorrow than in what work gives.
A little boy thought the raven on the bluff
was a winged instrument; there is so little
that gives and says it gives. Others
felt themselves ostracised by the moon.
The pure joy of daily living became impacted
with the blood of fate and battles.
There's no turning back the man says,
the one waiting to take tickets at the top
of the gangplank. Still, in the past
we could always wait a little. Indeed,
we are waiting now. That's what happens.

See also: How to write poetry

Filed under: Nonsense

Richard Carter

A fat, bearded chap with a Charles Darwin fixation.


  1. Hi,

    I am an Engineer with a layman's appreciation of poetry and although I usually don't get all the detailed references I seem to have have a bit of a nose for going the right direction (famous last words).

    I'm with you inasmuchas the whole poem seems like a collection of first line of different poems rather than one piece of writing. Anyway, my guess is this:

    It is about how civilization is at a cusp, people are becoming estranged from the natural world and the seasons etc. just because of our modern way of life. We are moving from a "natural" way of living to a "mechanised" way (internal groan). This in turn is stripping us of "real" emotions (more groaning).

    He makes the metaphor with the (autumn?) equinox as a point in the between summer and winter. The gang plank/no going back is a reference to those emigrating (to America?) for a new way of life. He is saying that we too are committing ourselves to a new way of life.

    There are a few lines that just express various diconnectedness with nature (the raven) and other lines that I don't have a clue about.


  2. Following my earlier comments...

    Now here's a thing, I am a terrible speller. When I fill in one of these comment boxes I always have to write it in another tool which has a spelling checker in it and then paste the result in.

    Now, what with you having the best site on the internet apart from James Randi it behoves you, as an html guru to add another button to the "preview" and "submit" selection i.e. "spell check". Then your site will be perfect in every way.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *