Monday, February 09, 2009

Blackbird in Winter


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

(photograph - masahisa fukase)

As the snow melts I share a final poetic thought as Winter appears to be on the wane. Stevens' famous poem evokes tranquillity and nature among other things. He commented in a letter that the poem dealt with sense experiences or "sensations" (Letters, 251). Our sensations of winter depend so much on our perspective, as "the eye of the blackbird", and our imagination, as we may see "golden birds". I prefer to meditate on the simple beauty of the poem.


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

from 'Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird' by Wallace Stevens

The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens. Alfred A. Knopf, New York. 1954.

The Solitude of Ravens by Masahisa Fukase. Chronicle Books, New York. 1992.


candyschultz said...

Winter is not on the wane where I am. Did you know that a group of crows was called 'a murder of crows'? I just learned that.

James said...

Maybe that is why they are called black birds? And winter will begin to wane in your neighborhood soon.

candyschultz said...

Oh you don't know Michigan. Spring didn't start last year until almost May.