Poetic Response to Wallace Stevens

The poem Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird by Wallace Stevens is commonly used to teach poetry students how to analyze one thing in many different ways. Here is Wallace Steven’s poem and my poetic response from about a year ago. I am contemplating making longer poems based on a few of the ideas I had in my poetic response, Thirteen Ways of Looking at Rain.

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.

13 Ways of Looking at Rain

Mindy M. Wara

I

Calf-skin drums thump and hum

Menominee feathers

dance in prayer

II

A drop of disappointment lands on a child’s face

little league game

cancelled

III

Towering cumulonimbus bursts

the plump gray water balloon finally erupts

IV

A red ribbon flashes across a screen –

thunderstorms and strong winds

Waupaca Waushara Winnebago

V

Diagonal sheets drill the pavement

and ruffle trees against a muted backdrop

VI

Crack of lightning

crunch of roof timbers

collapsing under the oaken trunk

VII

Icing roads and glazing snow

coating the landscape in confection

proceed with caution

VIII

Bleeding into soil –

tulips stretch and yawn

awakening from their sleepy bulbs

IX

Prop up your umbrella just outside the door

peel off the yellow slicker

hang it up to dry

X

Drops race down the windowpane

following the jagged paths of their predecessors

XI

Air pressure changes

as fog lifts and clouds chase each other

to the next county

XII

Puddles bask in the sun

warming themselves

until they disappear

XIII

Breathe in deep – this is the stuff laundry detergent is made of

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