Not Six Plus Six Ways Of Looking At A Blackbird

            A lipogram on stanzas by a bard who had a job in Hartford

I

Among six plus four and six plus four snowy mountains,
only a thing was moving:
a black bird’s optic organ.

II

I was of a mind and a mind and a mind,
as a big woody plant
with two blackbirds and a blackbird in it.

III

A blackbird spun in autumn winds.
It was a small part in a play without a sound.

IV

A man and a woman:
unity.
A man and a woman and a blackbird:
unity.

V

I do not know which to find good,
good looks of modulations
or good looks of obliquity,
a blackbird whistling
or what follows.

VI

Icy braids
hung from a long window
as barbaric glass.
A shadow of a blackbird
was crossing it, to and fro.
A mood
was tracing in that shadow
a why nobody
could crack.

VII

O thin humans of Haddam,
why do you think of birds of gold?
Do you not catch how a blackbird
walks around both sandals
of girls about you?

VIII

I know aristocratic vocal forms
and lucid rhythms nobody can avoid;
but I know, too,
that a blackbird is part
of what I know.

IX

As a blackbird’s flight took it out of sight,
it was a mark on a rim
of a round thing among many.

X

At a sight of blackbirds
flying in a light of a grassy color,
bawds of good sounds
would also cry out sharply.

XI

A man was riding across an Atlantic district
in a glass coach.
At a particular instant, an anxious thought ran through him,
in that that man mistook
shadows from his coach, assistants, and animals
for blackbirds.

XII

That brook is moving.
A blackbird is flying right now, without a doubt.

XIII

It was dusk for hours past noon.
It was snowing,
and it was going to snow.
A blackbird sat
in limbs of that particular big woody plant.

Andrew Shields lives in Basel, Switzerland. His collection of poems Thomas Hardy Listens to Louis Armstrong was published by Eyewear in 2015. His band Human Shields released the album Somebody’s Hometown in 2015 and the EP Défense de jouer in 2016.

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