13 Ways to Look at the Crow

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic
It's a verse to 13 Ways to Look at a Blackbird by Wallace Stevens.

Submitted: April 12, 2010

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Submitted: April 12, 2010

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I

Friday, among thirteen ugly scarecrows,

The only scaring thing

Was the incoming flutter of a murder.

II

I was of two minds,

Like a window

Through which an emu walked

In futility, having yet to learn.

The Crow caws an unnerving laugh.

III

The Crow swirled in summer’s glint.

It was a pantomime of surveillance.

IV

A dove and a pigeon

Are one.

A dove and a pigeon and the Crow

Are none.

V

I do not know which not to prefer,

The beauty of incoming morning

Or the beauty of incoming night,

The silver-white Crow

Or the misfortunate black.

VI

Delicious carrions fill a battlefield

With a conquered face or averse yield

Of red white-washed fallen nights.

Three Crows, creatures of paradox,

Discuss and engulf a dying night.

The mood

Left in the prophetic scene

Is an indecipherable hunger.

VII

O god of healing and prophecy, Apollo,

Why do you curse the once pure Crow?

Do you even see clearly the Crow

When it feasts—feeding hateful sin

In human’s eyes—

Who probes and dominates a piece of sky?

VIII

I know wise instinct

And inferior, opposite calculation;

But I know, too,

That humans are involved

In the Crow’s extinction.

IX

When the wise adviser,

Spirit of wisdom and law,

Glided into sight,

It marked the Crow,

By American Indian tribes.

X

At the sight of the Crow

Intelligence is kept in our minds:

Those omnivores that refine

Their tactics and tools,

That discern two from three

And a human’s face,

That cluster in silence

For the death of their own—

Perhaps they grieve.

Will you revere them like the Greeks?

XI

A man once crossed New Zealand

On strolling feet.

He was pierced with blinded panic

In that he mistook

The shadow of himself

For the Crow’s.

XII

The bodies are decaying.

The Crow must be dying.

XIII

“Black’d the raven o’er,

And bid him prate

In his white plumes no more”

[Blassingame]


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