Darlings, we’ll all be known for some detail,
some nick in the chiselled brow, but it won’t weigh much
in the scale’s careening pan. What others think
of us is the only thing that matters,
to us and to them. You are stuffing squash blossoms
with porcini mushrooms. I am somewhere else, alone as usual.
I must get back to my elegy.
- John Ashbery, from Novelty Love Trot in Where Shall I Wander (Carcanet, 2005)