Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Don't Tell My Professors...

Ever since I was in elementary school, I have loved Wallace Steven's poem "Thirteen Ways of Looking at Blackbird" for its dark wintery mysteries. But as it is not yet dark and wintery here, I think that a small homage (or parody, depending on your perspective) is in order.

Thirteen Ways of Looking At A Chicken

Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the chicken.

I was of three minds,
Like a roost
In which there are three chickens.

The chicken bathed in the dust on autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.

A man and a woman
Are one.
A man and a woman and a chicken
Are one.

I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The chicken clucking
Or just after.

Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the chicken
Crossed it, to and fro.
The mood
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.

O thin men of Williamstown,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the chicken
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you?

I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the chicken is involved
In what I know.

When the chicken ran out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.

At the sight of chickens
nesting 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 chickens.

The river is moving.
The chicken must be laying.

It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The chicken sat
In the barn’s-basement.

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