Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Woman

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Woman

William Crimson


In the traffic of twenty city blocks
The only moving thing
Were the hips of a woman.


I was of one mind
Like the gait
Of a woman comprised of insurmountable gestures.


The girl’s black hair whirled in the autumn winds.
The wind was a small part of her pantomime.


A girl and a woman
Are one;
A girl a woman and a centerfold
Are one.


I don’t know which to prefer
The inflections of the woman arriving
Or the innuendos of the woman departing
Her lips before
Or just after.


Sunlight brazed the long floorboards
With a barbed light.
The shadow of the woman
Crossed it, to and fro.
The mood
Plied by the shadow
An indecipherable desire.


O grinning men of Stoneham,
You who dream under the quarried sinew.
Did you not see the blackbird
That leapt
From the thighs of the women about you?


I build foundations
And stately, imperturbable edifices
But I know
That the woman is not to be contained
By what I build.


When the girl jumped rope
She marked
One more among her dilative circles.


At the sight of women
Naked under the green half-moon
The bawds of euphony
Have always cried out sharply.


She rose over Connecticut
In a glass tender.
Once, she was not surprised,
When she mistook
The shadow of her equipage
For blackbirds.


A blackbird sings.
It is possible a woman moves among the reeds.


Evening was in her hair all
Afternoon. Snow
Was in her skin and her red lips incontestable.
Waited in her eyes.



  • In the event that readers are not familiar with the poetry of Wallace Stevens, and to prevent the accusation that I have stolen from Stevens, I confess that I have. This poem, or response, or creative critique, is based on Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.

Latest Comments

  1. paul1510 says:

    to be honest, I’d rather look at a woman.
    Anyway, blackbirds are rare in this neck of the woods.

  2. Mzcue says:

    But in the prairie
    Blackbirds are plentiful.

    I was moved by the woman’s sway in #1.
    And the of #5: arrival/departure.

    Distilled language, so voluptuous.

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