Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

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.
Wallace Stevens, “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” from The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens. Copyright 1954 by Wallace Stevens.

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird - oil on museum panel - 70x50cms

On May 28th of this year I came across this Zen like poem for the second time in my life while attending a lecture on 'Modes of Attention and the exploration of ones capacity to See'. The lecture was given by the former Dean of Academics at the Burren College of Art, Timothy Emlyn Jones.

Two days later I captured this image of a bird perched on a bare tree branch outside my studio space in the Ballyvaughan. It's still a work in progress but would hope to bring the painting to a finish in March of 2015.

This image marks my last blog post of 2014. 
Yesterday I arrived in the city of Barcelona and will be here working in studio at Nave 12 for the next six to eight weeks. Can't wait to share my experiences with you from here in the New Year.

- Richard

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