blackbirds and clouds

I was recently reminded of the Wallace Stevens poem about blackbirds,
after reading that the contemporary music ensemble, 8th blackbird
decided on their name thanks to his poem.
(Recently winning a Grammy, this innovative group will now be in residence at Curtis.)

It reminded me of Garth Knox's description of a solo viola piece,
Takemitsu's "A bird came down the walk,"
something I never had been able to relate to before.
He told the student that it was a gift to paint a picture of a garden
from all of these different perspectives.

How much of what we do is a gift?
Rarely does it really feel like one.

Such a revelation in continuous journey of learning to appreciate new things
that might not be in my comfort zone,
whether it is contemporary music,
new situations,
new people,
new aspects of myself uncovered by those things.

This gorgeous cloud installation is the visual correlation to my personal favorite:
 I do not know which to prefer,
 The beauty of inflections
 Or the beauty of innuendoes,
 The blackbird whistling
 Or just after.

"Berndnaut Smilde's cloud creations within rooms are simply magical! The Amsterdam-based artist was able to achieve this with the combination of smoke, moisture, and dramatic lighting. It is interesting how the his work only exists for that brief period of time physically, but can still have a powerful impact after it is gone.
Smilde often experiments with the concept of "the physical presence of transitional spaces." Nimbus I (featured above) was visible only for a few minutes at Hotel MariaKapel, while Nimbus II (below) was captured for Probe, an online gallery. Smilde elaborates, "The idea I had was going to be an ephemeral work. It would only exist as a photo." The lone cloud installations defy boundaries and bring a fantastical element to these rooms."
via {modern met} via {It's Nice ThatProbe}

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 blackbird 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,
 It 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.


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