Ways of Looking

Earlier I plucked a book off the shelf and flipped through to find a particular line. A swollen, water-damaged insert tumbled out, and on it was a quote from Wallace Stevens’ well-known poem:¹

I do not know which to prefer,

The beauty of inflections

Or the beauty of innuendos,

The blackbird whistling

Or just after.

The beauty of the moment was that I had been thinking of music, for I could not decide whether the suspense before a note or the silence after was more charged with emotion. Now, it seems inane—good grief, what was I wondering? The answer is the note itself, of course. Anticipation and memory have no power over the exact moment of realization, of revelation, of knowing you are, oh my, sentient and alive.

¹ Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird


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