Some Bird Songs


Thirteen Ways of Looking
       at a Blackbird
Wallace Stevens


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



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

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

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



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

VI
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.



VII
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?

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



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

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



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

XII
The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.



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





Bird Music
Transcribed in Syllables
Gilbert H. Trafton

Red-winged blackbird: kong-quer-ree, or o-ka-lee, or gug-lug-lee.
Maryland yellow-throat: witchity, witchity.
Flicker: wick, wick, wick.
Nuthatch: quank, quank, quank.
Oven-bird: teacher, teacher, teacher.






A Bird Came Down the Walk
Emily Dickinson

A Bird came down the Walk--
He did not know I saw--
He bit an Angleworm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw,

And then he drank a Dew
From a convenient Grass--
And then hopped sidewise to the Wall
To let a Beetle pass--

He glanced with rapid eyes
That hurried all around--
They looked like frightened Beads, I thought--
He stirred his Velvet Head

Like one in danger, Cautious,
I offered him a Crumb
And he unrolled his feathers
And rowed him softer home--

Than Oars divide the Ocean,
Too silver for a seam--
Or Butterflies, off Banks of Noon
Leap, plashless as they swim.

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