Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A crossing of shadows

A shadow. Something seen so clearly, yet so elusive. Can’t avoid your own shadow unless you step into darkness, becoming one with it.

Magical shadows with special powers, to slide in where a physical body can’t go and do what its owner bids it do. Or shadows that take on their own lives and fight their owners to remain free. Many stories and games include free-spirited, magical shadows, through alchemy of the imagination.

Our earth and moon play shadow games, eclipsing one another from time to time as they perform their celestial dance.

Is an echo an aural shadow? When you hear someone read a poem or play a ballad on piano; also aural shadows? Could a drawing be a shadow image of the artist’s state of mind? What is the taste of something? The flavor of deep chocolate upon the tongue, the fragrance of fresh rain. They only last momentarily, then are memories. Is that shadow? Is the memory of a loved one’s caress a shadow? Is memory sensory shadow?

Shadows are mirror images or stretched-out distortions, combinations of unrecognizable shapes, confusing us all.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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

No comments: