From Ashbery’s poem “So Many Lives,” in A Wave: Poems:
It’s rapture that counts, and what little
There is of it is seldom aboveboard
First encountered some years ago in Philip Lopate’s introduction to Rudy Burckhardt.
The lines remind me of these from Auden’s “Orpheus”:
What does the song hope for? And the moved hands
A little way from the birds, the shy, the delightful?
To be bewildered and happy,
Or most of all the knowledge of life?
But the beautiful are content with the sharp notes of the air;
The warmth is enough. O if winter really
Oppose, if the weak snowflake,
What will the wish, what will the dance do?