Thirteen Ways (after Wallace Stevens and Joni Mitchell)

crow #2s

1
Did you know?  Was it you
who sent Crow?  Black wings
swallowed by the sky

2
I had time and seasons
rising to meet me
like trembling in my bones,

3
like Icarus ascending
on beautiful foolish arms
.

There's a crow flying # if I flew

4
Crow and I
are not one–
but we are together in this
cosmos, on this earth.

5
I do not know myself
and yet I know of the intersections
of that unknown self
with the call to attention
that is Crow.

apolcalyptic crow 2s

6
My mind is busy
with trivial things.
The shadow of a cry
spills everything out
empty
waiting for the return
of listening, watching.

7
O ragged soul
why do you take flight?
Do you not see the trees?
They are returning from the dead
again and again.

8
I know many words
and the images that accompany them.
But I know too
that Crow lives deeper and wider
than what I know.

crow tree close up s

9
Diving diving diving diving.
There is no bottom no top
no inside or out.

10
At the sight of Crow
resounding the light
the layers reveal
their chorded songs.

spiral crows 2s

11
I walk these streets
in oblivion,
trying to escape
the fear of the known
by making up stories
that rearrange my life.

12
I hear my fate turn turn turn
how many crows?

13 blackbirds s

13
Always standing in the doorway
like Janus—neither and both–
cursed and charmed
Crow laughs—he knows
I have a dream to fly.

crow #1s

Brendan at earthweal asks us this week to think about the nature of poetry. I first encountered Wallace Stevens and “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” in high school and it remains my poetic touchpoint more than 50 years later. But equally important to my connection with poetry was music–first, traditional folk music, and then the whole crop of singer-songwriters that emerged from the folk revival. I love Joni Mitchell’s “Blue”, but “Hejira” has always resonated with me most of all. The form of this poem is based on Stevens, but the spirit and italicized words are taken from Joni and from my own encounters with Crow, a master shaman.

I have not been posting much, and will probably be mostly absent for the next month or 6 weeks–I’m moving (again). But this is good news! I will have a dedicated work space once again, and a real kitchen. I knew the last 2 moves were temporary, but I thought both moves before that would be the last one–so I’m making no predictions. But I’m planning to be there for awhile.

Another Thirteen Days

apolcalyptic crow 2s

1
Crow sits
in the back
of my mind,

2
insistent call
searching
for the source.

3
Crow exists as a continuation–
night overlapping with day.

printed geese 2s

4
Dark shapes,
constant motion.
Behind my eyes,
constant motion.

5
I do not know which to prefer,
black branches
or the hint of green,
the waiting
or the surprise.

6
Wings cross the sky
of my isolation,
weaving through wind
rattling the glass,
suspended
between my longing
and the possibility of flight.

There's a crow flying # if I flew

7
Am I rising or setting?
Can light return
me to my rhythms,
or will only darkness come
to fulfill my desires?

8
I send messages
by breathing,
by listening
through the silences
of birds.

9
I mark the edges
with the songs
of memory.

crow #1s

10
The sky reflects
on the questions
that weave my solitude
with songs.

11
I walk the landscapes
of the unseen,
holding the fear
of endings
in the shadows
of glittering eyes.

spiral crows 2s

12
The sun rises above the roof.
Crow calls me to attention.

13
The days remain
undivided,
uncalendared.
Like the blackbird,
unknown.

13 blackbirds s

The NaPoWriMo Day 14 prompt asks for a poem that “deals with the poems, poets, and other people who inspired you to write poems” .  I return often to Wallace Stevens’ poem “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”.  Every time it opens new doors.  And Joni…

I have done numerous poems and works of art involving crows, and a selection of the art appears amidst the stanzas above.

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this is the place s