And Quoth the Raven… “Never More”…

What’s with blackbirds… corvids for the most part, tool using, swaggering, chortling blackbirds. We have crows in Port Ludlow as most places do. Port Browning on North Pender Island has lots of ravens. And the poet Wallace Stevens certainly had a thing for them:

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird, by Wallace Stevens:

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

II
I was of three minds,   
Like a tree   
In which there are three blackbirds.   

III
The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.   
It was a small part of the pantomime.   

V
A man and a woman   
Are one.   
A man and a woman and a blackbird   
Are one.   

V
I do not know which to prefer,   
The beauty of inflections   
Or the beauty of innuendoes,   
The blackbird whistling   
Or just after.   

VI
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.   

VII
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?   

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

IX
When the blackbird flew out of sight,   
It marked the edge   
Of one of many circles. 

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

XI
He rode over Connecticut   
In a glass coach.   
Once, a fear pierced him,   
In that he mistook   
The shadow of his equipage   
For blackbirds.   

XII
The river is moving.   
The blackbird must be flying.  

XIII
It was evening all afternoon.   
It was snowing   
And it was going to snow.   
The blackbird sat   
In the cedar-limbs.

And then of course, the Beatles sang Pauls song about blackbirds singing in the dead of night… Which I’m not sure they actually do, but that wasn’t the point of that song now was it…

And then you had all those blackbirds being baked in a pie…

Sing a song of sixpense, 
A pocket full of rye. 
Four and twenty blackbirds.
Baked in a pie. 
When the pie was opened 
The birds began to sing; 
Wasn't that a dainty dish, 
To set before the king.

Now, just who would want to eat blackbirds: Probably no-one. It was a 16th century amusement to place live birds in a pie. There was reference to it in a cook book written in 1725 by a John Nott. Once guests at a meal were sitting down and while unfolding their napkins, the pie would be opened and the birds would fly out.

How rude humans can be when considering their own entertainment. I just hope the pie was baked with a sourdough crust! Why bother writing about blackbirds? Your guess is as good as mine…

And as the country begins to open up, self isolation and social distancing begins to lose its edge… please remember the virus is still there, waiting patiently like a blackbird eyeing a potato chip on the sidewalk, waiting for the human to turn away and look elsewhere. Waiting…

And when the blackbird flies out of sight,
It marks the edge
Of one of many circles.
But the circles are still there.

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