Thayer Watkins
Silicon Valley

Some Favorite Bits
of Poetry

In fleecy coats with five white tassels,
affable snakes, the great duke's vassals glide
from his hall
to tuck their court rations inside.

In lambskin coats with five wider tassels,
affable snakes, the duke's vassals all
glide out to dinner
on leaving the hall.

With quadruple tassels or seams to their coats,
lambskin and all, with that elegant look,
noble vassals, affable snakes
glide out to consume what they get from the Duke.

Ezra Pound
The Confucian Odes

Thirteen Ways of
Looking at a Blackbird

Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.

I was of three minds.
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.

The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.

A man and a woman
Are one.
A man and a woman and a blackbird
Are one.

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

Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
The mood
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.

O thin men of Haddam,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you?

I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.

When the blackbird flew out of sight,
I marked the edge
Of one of many circles.

At the sight of blackbirds
Flying in a green light,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.

He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
For blackbirds.

The river is moving
The blackbird must be flying.

It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.

Wallace Stevens

If I were a cassowary
On the plains of Timbuctoo
I would eat a missionary
Skin and bones and hymn-book too.

Samuel Wilberforce

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