The chamber group pictured here a decade ago decided to name itself “The Eighth Blackbird,” having rejected several other poetic references such as “Red Wheelbarrow.” There are thirteen blackbirds, of course. So why the eighth? Is it the music’s unavoidable, inexorable meter? Is it the focused circular knowing of the musician in the midst of his or her playing? Well, anyway:
I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.
It’s good to know that in the mid-90s someone at Oberlin College was apparently teaching Wallace Stevens.
Aw, but enough lucidity. For my part, I want to listen to the music of a group named “First Blackbird,” making sounds based on this:
I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.
And on some days, “Tenth Blackbird” would do very aptly:
At the sight of blackbirds
Flying in a green light,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.