Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Woman
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
A girl a woman and a centerfold
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.
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
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
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
A blackbird sings.
It is possible a woman moves among the reeds.
Evening was in her hair all
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.