not only/but also

Having transferred the one to the other
And living on the plain of insistent self-knowledge
Just outside the great city, I see many
Who come and go, and being myself involved in distant places
Ask how they adjust to
The light that rains on the traveler’s back
And pushes out before him. It is always “the journey,”
And we are never sure if these are preparations
Or a welcome back to the old circle of stone posts.

That was there before the first invention
And now seems a place of vines and muted shimmers
And sighing at noon
As opposed to

The terrain of stars, the robe
Of only that journey. You adjusted to all that
Over a long period of years. When we next set out
I had spent years in your company
And was now turning back, half amused, half afraid,
Having in any case left something important back home
Which I could not continue without,
An invention so simple I could never figure out
How they spent so many ages without discovering it.
I would have found it, altered it
To be my shape, probably in my own lifetime,
In a decade, in just a few years.

(John Ashbery, from As We Know.)

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