Thursday, February 14, 2008

TT #74: Looking at a Blackbird


Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

This poem by Wallace Stevens (1879-1955) is an excellent example of his willingness to experiment in the early 20th century. The poem is simple enough - a series of imagistic fragments, each one exploring a different thought that arises in the poet's mind as he looks out upon a blackbird - but for its time it was revolutionary.

Wallace Stevens

Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.

I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.

The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.

A man and a woman
Are one.
A man and a woman and a blackbird
Are one.

I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.

Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
The mood
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.

O thin men of Haddam,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you?

I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.

When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.

At the sight of blackbirds
Flying in a green light,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.

He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
For blackbirds.

The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.

It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.

While writing this post I kept singing "Bye Bye Blackbird"! :-)


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~*~ Mama Kelly ~*~ Chelle Y. ~*~ Sandy Carlson ~*~ SJ Reidhead ~*~ Nicholas ~*~ Chuck ~*~ Adelle ~*~ Sandee ~*~ ellen b. ~*~ Cricket's Hearth ~*~ Joely Sue ~*~ Alice Audrey ~*~ suchsimplepleasures ~*~ Susan Helene ~*~ Melli ~*~ Journeywoman ~*~ Lara Angelina ~*~ Sanni ~*~ WillThink4Wine ~*~ Darla ~*~ storyteller ~*~ Nancy J. Bond ~*~ JoyIsMyGoal ~*~ Aline de Chevigny ~*~ OneLuvGirl ~*~ Dane Bramage ~*~ Brenda ND ~*~ Kat's Krackerbox ~*~ Lisa ~*~ Xakara ~*~ The Bluest Butterfly ~*~ Moondancer ~*~ k ~*~ Byrning bunny ~*~ Serina Hope ~*~ julia ~*~ Vixen's Den ~*~ damozel ~*~

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  1. Anonymous13/2/08 22:14

    I had to read this poem in my Literature class last semester. My favorite line is: "A man and a woman Are one. A man and a woman and a blackbird Are one.".

    I am "playing" Th13 again this week (my entry will be appearing in a couple of hours).

    Thanks for letting me revisit this.

  2. I have never heard of that poem before now. It's beautiful.

  3. What an insurance guy can write! This is wonderful. I especially enjoyed the lines:

    But I know, too,
    That the blackbird is involved
    In what I know.

  4. Beautiful.

    The Pink Flamingo

  5. Pack up all my cares and woe.....

    very interesting. When was this poem written?

  6. I love it! So nice to see it hear today. Thx for posting.

    Happy VDay/TT. *hugs*

  7. Thanks for sharing this. I've never seen it before. Happy Valentine's Day!

  8. First time I've ever heard this. Very well done. Have a great TT. :)

  9. Oh no you have me singing now too! Bye bye...

  10. I have not read that poem before. Very interesting. Happy Valentine's Day!

  11. Anonymous14/2/08 01:41

    What a neat poem--I don't remember ever reading it before. Happy Valentine's Day!

  12. I've never seen this before, either.

  13. what a beautiful poem! thank you for introducing it to those of us who are unfamiliar!
    happy tt/valentines day!

  14. Really interesting, Tink. Neat stuff.

  15. THIS would be a very fun form to copy -- using a different subject. It's a WONDERFUL poem!

  16. You have such interesting TT's! Thanks for this poem

  17. Whenever I hear the word "Blackbird" I think of the Beatles song, which was so magnificent in its simple complexity. I've never heard this poem before, but it too is simple and yet very complex.
    Great TT!

  18. I ♥ the poem - thank you so much for sharing it, Tink!

    Happy TT + Happy Valentine´s Day ♥

  19. I love birds and all forms of wildlife, especially my cats, who as you can imagine, also love Birdies! This was lovely. Happy Valentine´s Day ♥

  20. What a clever idea for a thirteen! Now I'm humming "Bye Bye Blackbird", too. When I was in high school, we did a pompon routine to it. I remembered some of it, but I quit before I injured myself. :)

  21. Thank you for sharing this unique T-13. I thoroughly enjoyed the glimpses in the poem. It's a new one for me.
    Hugs and blessings,

  22. I love these! "It was evening all afternoon"...doesn't that just conjure up the perfect image of a snowy, grey day? Happy Hearts Day!

  23. I too remember this from my far distant past and it is nice i remember the pictures it created in my mind as a young person and some of the same were brought to my mind but since i have been married for 25 years now new pictures of man and woman as one come to mind--thanks for that literary pause.Have a fun Valentines Day

  24. Arghhhh now I'll have that song stuck in my head all day LOL

    Happy TT and Valentine's day Tink.


  25. Makes me think of the Edgar Allen Poe poem and not the song! Very nice!

    My TT is 13 love songs that you can listen to in the post. Happy TT & Valentine's!

  26. Neat poem but now I've got
    "Blackbird singing in the dead of night..." stuck in my head.

    My 67th edition Thursday Thirteen: 13 Romantic Tips (from a single man's perspective) is up. Stop by if you get a chance.

    "take these broken wings and learn to fly. All of your life..." See what you've done now?

  27. I've heard that poem before. Interesting how when we really look at things, they change and expand into something wonderful. Thanks for sharing and Happy Valentine's Day!

  28. WOW! That's very interesting. "A man and a woman are one." Love it! Happy Valentine's Day

  29. Wonderful poem! Thanks for sharing.

    Happy TT, hope you can drop by

  30. Anonymous15/2/08 00:03

    Thank you, this was beautiful. I'd never heard of the poem in it's entirety but I recognized part of it. I'll have to dig out the book and make sure.

    Happy Valentine's Day/TT


  31. This is one of the most unique Thirteens I have ever read.

  32. I can completely see why you had the bye bye blackbird echoing in your head. :)

  33. best title of a poem ever!

  34. Anonymous15/2/08 03:26

    I've never heard this before. COOL Thanks for sharing.

  35. What an awesome 13. I love it.

  36. I like quite a few, including the very first one. But this one is my favorite:

    'I know noble accents
    And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
    But I know, too,
    That the blackbird is involved
    In what I know.'

    Great T13!

  37. Anonymous15/2/08 18:25

    I had never heard that poem. Thank you for sharing.

  38. Really enjoyed this .thanks for sharing it.I had not heard of him before.

  39. What a great reminder and a lovely poem - thanks for sharing!

    Wishing you a great week ahead :-)

  40. Hi again! This time I'm stopping by to tag you. Tag! You're it! :)

  41. I'm sorry to be so late. Wallace Stevens is my favorite poet and this is one of my favorite of all poems.



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