Sunday, July 29, 2007

13 Ways Are Too Many

Every once in a while, I re-read the poem '13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird'. A teacher pointed me to it, a long time ago, when I was asking how to properly express abstractions in poetry. I still do not understand.

Every time I read it, a different stanza draws me in. Today I think it is number 7.

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?

Some of the stanzas are about the blackbird that flies, or the blackbird that sits, or the blackbird that casts a shadow. This one is about the blackbird that you can find, and that can give you joy, but only if you will see it.

Our idea of what we want is so much more than the thing. The idea is sharp and hard and cold. The thing we want is real and soft and sounds sweetly in our ears as we sleep and smiles at us as we wake.