Like a Tree in Which There Are Two Blackbirds

blackbirds in mulberry
Two Blackbirds

My apologies to Wallace Stevens. I probably quote from his poem Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird more often than any other author than or work except Shakespeare. But when I see blackbirds, grackles in this case, whatever it is they are doing fits into the poem. Mostly. In this case the stanzas that came to mind were:

I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.
Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.

Neither verse, nor any other suited these two exactly, but I was entranced by the two silhouettes in the mulberry tree in the morning light, and that round yellow eye, geometric among all the random shapes.

In all the fluttering shapes
I saw the tiny perfect circle
and found the blackbirds.

Eh, it’s not Wallace-worthy, but sincere nonetheless.

Grackles aren’t always known for beauty, but I find their sleek feathers and clear silhouette riveting against any background, and that perfectly round yellow eye set in the darkness like a gem feels like a message I should understand. And then they speak in their squeaky gate language. They are wonderful to watch. Other birds flit and hop and flutter, but grackles make a stand and make a statement.

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  1. Marvelous blackbird post! I’ve always loved grackles; I’ve always thought they were beautiful when the sun brought out the iridescence of their feathers. Years ago I even wrote an article about them, called “The Uncommon Grackle”. It was published in an old nature journal, “Snowy Egret”. That long ago when it used to be published on a mimeograph machine.

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