Red Wing Innuendoes

Red Winged Blackbird

from Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

by Wallace Stevens


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

“Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” from The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens,
© 1954 by Wallace Stevens, Alfred A. Knopf/Random House

Detail of photo by Benjamin Knoot

About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for the past 50 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband.
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2 Responses to Red Wing Innuendoes

  1. Some of my favorite birds are marked with red. One of the great joys of my life is to be circling in the rising warm air of a thermal in a sailplane, amidst several red-tailed hawks. They show me where the best lift in the thermal is to be found.

    A red-shouldered hawk lives in trees in our neighborhood. I realize every creature has to eat, but he preys on our squirrels. The red-shouldered hawk is a huge bird, with almost four foot wingspan. His massive talons are huge fearsome weapons. When he swoops down and grabs one of our grey “tree rats” it is always quick and painless for the prey, but still hard to watch.

  2. wordcloud9 says:

    I have a special fondness for the Red Winged Blackbird – growing up in the Arizona desert, their distinctive call could only be heard near water. They congregated in the oleander bushes at the back of our yard, and along the canals that carry water all over the Phoenix basin.

    Early white settlers had built a few small canals for irrigation and to divert flash flooding, but when the Army Corps of Engineers began their survey in 1906 to determine where a much more extensive system of canals should be built, they discovered that the ancient Hohokam had already discovered the best placement centuries earlier. These mysterious native peoples flourished in the valley for almost 1500 years, then suddenly vanished around 1450. But they left behind the faint outlines of their amazing waterways.

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