Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird
by Wallace Stevens
Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird Man and the Natural World Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (section: I, II, etc.)
Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird. (Section I)
You could imagine this opening as a scene in a film that begins in a huge white landscape and slowly zooms in on a tiny black speck until the blackbird comes into view, and then keeps zooming until the whole screen is filled with the bird's eye. See! It twitched!
The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime. (Section III)
Little did we humans know, but there's the equivalent of a Broadway show going on at every moment out in the nature. The random activities of nature are compared to bit roles in a theatrical performance. The speaker views nature through the eyes of culture.
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you? (Section VII)
This section implies that a blackbird is just as good as some hoity-toity "golden bird." When you think about it, the value of gold is really cultural: we think of gold as beautiful because it's rare and exceptional. We often neglect the commonplace beauties that can be found everywhere.