Monday, March 15, 2010


Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird
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.

(Not quite 13 yet, but working on it...)


Gillian said...

That's quite an achievemnt, Rhonda. I admire your persistence and how each piece has a very different character. Beautiful and unique. x

laura said...

What a fabulous post! Stevens is probably my favorite poet (in my top three)--I love his images and esp. the sound of his poetry. Your paintings complement the poem beautifully--this would make an excellent little chapbook!

Barb Sailor said...

Love the paintings and the poem. The crow paintings all have their own individual appeal and are unique in their own right...but together they form a wonderful composite creation.

debwardart said...

Wow - your series is great!

Melanie Rawlings said...

These are amazing i just love your colours and shapes. Your birds as a subject hold mystery and depth

Mary Sonya Conti said...

felt the caw (call) of your gallery this morning. The paintings set to the words were perfect. (believe heard the musings in the background of each winged spirit leaving their imprint)!

RHCarpenter said...

I'm so pleased that you all are enjoying the crow "show" with the beautiful poem. Makes me wish I had 13 crows done...but maybe someday. Now, I'm still working on the last crows (or will they be the last?). And that glass bowl that's taking its time.
I woke late this morning and the second thing I heard (first was my husband saying goodbye as he left for the day) was the cawing of the crows. I think we have 2 close enough to hear and see once in a while but can't get a closer look - wonder what I should set out to bring them in?

Michelle Himes said...

Great series, Rhonda.

RHCarpenter said...

Thanks, Michelle :) Glad you are enjoying them.

Pam Johnson Brickell said...

Fantastic post, Rhonda! It's great to see your crow series all together and I love art with prose.

RHCarpenter said...

Thanks, Pam. When I saw this poem, I just had to use it to showcase the crows :)

Cathy Gatland said...

I've only now had time to read this properly Rhonda - it's utterly beautiful, as is your crow series.

RHCarpenter said...

Thanks, Cathy. Glad you enjoyed the poem and the paintings.