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Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

by Wallace Stevens

Man and the Natural World Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #4

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

"Nobility" is a "civilized" characteristic. The highest activities of human culture, such as poetry and music, have traditionally been considered "noble." The blackbird's involvement in nobility and so-called "high" culture is meant to surprise us.

Quote #5

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

The "bawds of euphony" don't pay much attention to nature because it's too complex, chaotic, and ambiguous. But even they can't resist the arresting contrast between dark black and bright green.

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