Resurrecting Harmony and Invention

For The Sunday Whirl poetry prompt: Wordle #159

blackbird, night, broken, wings, life, moment
arise, eyes, free, light, see, dead

Resurrecting Harmony and Invention

Knew a man who found a crow
in wings of a blackbird. Said
in that moment he invented
Wallace Stevens.

Some see night in color of a crow,
eyes finally free to see true meaning
of light and life defined by broken

In darkness of sleep, dream of both
living and dead. When dawn arises,
know I have discovered thirteen ways
of seeing myself invent this poem.

Elizabeth Crawford  5/4/14


Although I love the song from which these words were taken, the first word on the list was blackbird and the first stanza of this piece came full-blown into my head. I wrote it down, but had no sense of where to go after that. So, went and did other things, only to return later in the evening to find the second verse by simply playing with the words themselves. Had used all but two of the words, arise and dead, which only spoke to me of resurrection. Went to bed and dreamed of several things and people. Arose when sunlight in my window awakened me (its been absent for several days). Came on my computer and found that once again, Microsoft had updated, then closed my puter and reopened it again. That meant whatever I had written was gone, lost when the puter had been shut down. Went looking through the documents file and found it labeled under untitled document. Can you say resurrection? And with that, knew where I wanted to go with the piece. The phrase living and dead, reminded me of Sharon Olds (her second book of poems is titled The Living and The Dead). Dr. Kummings introduced me to Olds when I told him I could not understand poetry and thought I might never do so. That was the beginning of my love affair with the entire subject. Dr. Kummings was my teacher, adviser, mentor, and friend. This present poem is just another tribute to the man. Its title is derived from a poem he wrote (The Contest Between Harmony and Invention) that was published in a book representing good, modern, American poetry. In it, he writes about how he invented Wallace Stevens. It may be found here:

I owe a great deal to Dr. Kummings. He transformed my life from that of a confused, stumbling around, middle-aged woman, to that of a red-winged blackbird in full and glorious flight. The image is a mandala manipulated, by a friend, from a photo I had taken.

And of course, the song:

After setting up this post, I listened again to the song from which these words were taken. As I listened, this began running through my head.


Resurrection II

I am the blackbird in flight
branded with a crimson slash
and another of gold on my
out-stretched wings.

Sometimes in night of dead ashes
an ember still burns, only waiting
for small breath that will renew life,
bringing light where darkness reigned.

In one moment, broken dreams
are finally free to be seen, releasing
once caged creature into flight,
a soul arising with creative fire.

Elizabeth Crawford 5/4/14

Notes: This has never happened before. The image is a photo I took about two years ago. It flew into my mind as I was listening to the song and the poem immediately followed it. Thank you, Brenda.

About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here:
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23 Responses to Resurrecting Harmony and Invention

  1. WOW! A breathtaking feast in here tonight, my friend. The blackbird poems are most beautiful. I especially love the “thirteen ways of seeing myself invent this poem”. And your process notes, as always, are great food for thought. I SEE you as that blackbird, rising!!!!!!!!!


  2. Misky says:

    Wow. Love the process notes, too!



  3. oldegg says:

    I wish I had such a methodical brain as to even think of process notes! However having read and re-read ‘Resurrection II’, I must confess how enthralled I was by it.


  4. CC Champagne says:

    A wonderful poem made so much more powerful with the author’s notes! Well done!


  5. Jae Rose says:

    What an illuminating trying to understand the moon from both sides…the first thick, treacly..a dark beauty..the second wide awake and bright..a shining beauty..superb once again..(i had trouble with arise dropped the a..also have never heard the original version of the song so it didn’t play much of a part!)


  6. Laurie Kolp says:

    Amazing, Elizabeth & I love your process notes!


  7. drpkp says:

    Yes! Agree with Sherry and the others that preceded me… Beautiful poem and your process is sheer poetry itself – Wonderful poem in a truly professional presentation


  8. vandana says:

    A lovely poem 🙂


  9. dark and i love the image of arising, like a phoenix. ever onward.


  10. nan says:

    I had a similar challenge in getting past the source of these words… singing Blackbird in my head still! I really enjoyed your process and the end projects. Well done!


  11. What a tour de force, Elizabeth – two exciting poems and a beautiful mandala. I set out to write a Spenserian sonnet from the words, as there were some obvious rhymes available (as prompted at dVerse on Thursday) and my puter did the same as yours! I never thought to look for untitled document, simply started again in a completely different direction.


  12. Sabra Bowers says:

    Your process notes add richness to your post. Love them, Elizabeth. The mandala is beautiful. I used to make mandalas and you’ve inspired me to try again. Your second stanza holds truth for all.


  13. These are both so beautiful, Elizabeth, but the second is my favorite. That, and your process. Thank you for giving me hope, when my muse wants to rest.


  14. Wow.. a double set of the most awesome poetry.. I liked the notes the poetry and everything.. Brenda gave us words that really went so well ,,, but so far this is the best I have read…


  15. brian miller says:

    the black bird and the crow are cousins….i like the second one best…the resurrection in creativity in that last stanza….


  16. Sumana Roy says:

    love them all …”Sometimes in night of dead ashes /an ember still burns, “ favorite lines…


  17. kkkkaty says:

    Excellent….interesting as I had a teacher who once told me the same thing, that I would never be able to understand poetry…kind of a cruel things to say, I thought, but it forced me to push on..let’s hear it for late bloomers …love the opening line.


  18. This is so lovely. Finding a teacher that inspires and brings out the best in you is a rare blessing.


  19. Great work, Elizabeth.


  20. annell4 says:

    I love how you tell of the birthing of this poem!


  21. Pamela says:

    Elizabeth, love both poems, but the first is my favourite. Two poems, wow! Nice to know I have some insider info on the Doctor 😉

    Pamela ox


  22. This is a wow! And thank you for including notes—I never know whether to do that or not–but here they add a certain richness to the reader’s experience–beautiful, beautiful work!


  23. DELL CLOVER says:

    Love that you were transformed into a red wing blackbird–they’re so beautiful, I remember from my years in Minnesota.


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