Study Guide

Some Trees Morning

By John Ashbery

Morning

Morning: it's not just the start of the day; it's a symbol too. So, the next time you find yourself pondering life's mysteries over a bowl of cornflakes, consider that it's not a coincidence that you typically do this sort of thing in the morning. In Ashbery's poem, morning seems to be a symbol and pattern of imagery of new beginnings, new worlds, new relationships, etc. It's a new day, so to speak.

  • Lines 4-6: Morning is part of the spontaneity that we get with the idea of "arranging by chance." So not only does it symbolize new beginnings, but it does so in a way that's most natural, since it's fresh and not planned. And it also seems to be part of the bridge between the ideas of being separate from the world but also a part of it.
    The meeting that the speaker has with his partner occurs in the morning. So we also start thinking that the morning represents the dawn of a new relationship too, filled with uncertainty and excitement. After all, no one knows what may happen after breakfast.
  • Line 17: That "winter morning" does a lot of things in that final stanza. It's a familiar image that also bridges the gap between sound and image. Remember all those opposites we were working with in that last stanza? Here we may also think that a winter morning is the perfect time to think about things, as we tend to imagine a quiet morning rather than a noisy one belonging to summer.
    Why else would Ashbery include a "winter morning" as his final set of images? What's so important about it when we consider the contexts of trees and relationships? Also, is there anything different about a "winter morning" and the plain old morning we see in stanza two? What's the effect of including "winter" the second time around?

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