13 ways of looking at mitt romney
One of our favorite poems is “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” by Wallace Stevens. We often reference it when teaching people how to do messaging. It beautifully illustrates how there are always many ways of looking at and describing the same thing.
Last year, we took the liberty of re-imagining this iconic poem to reflect the sheer relativistic absurdity of the Romney campaign and the 2012 presidential election. If you followed the campaign closely, you’ll get most of the references.
As you enjoy our re-interpretation of this classic American poem, we’d encourage you to compare it to the original.
13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird 13 Ways of Looking at Mitt Romney
by Wallace Stevens by David Rosen
Among twenty snowy mountains, Among twenty thousand voters,
The only moving thing The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird. Was the position of Mitt Romney.
I was of three minds, I was of three minds,
Like a tree Like an Etch A Sketch,
In which there are three blackbirds. In which there were three Mitt Romneys.
The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds. Crowley fact-checked in the autumn debates.
It was a small part of the pantomime. It was a small part of the pantomime.
A man and a woman A mandate and a tax
Are one. Are one.
A man and a woman and a blackbird A mandate and a tax and Mitt Romney
Are one. Are one.
I do not know which to prefer, I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes, Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling Sununu’s dog-whistling
Or just after. Or just after.
Icicles filled the long window The primaries moved the Overton window
With barbaric glass. With barbaric facts.
The shadow of the blackbird Romney and his opponents
Crossed it, to and fro. Debated, to and fro.
The mood The mood
Traced in the shadow Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause. An ideological cause.
O thin men of Haddam, O spin men of the psalm
Why do you imagine golden birds? Why do you imagine white knights?
Do you not see how the blackbird Do you not see how Mitt Romney
Walks around the feet Talks about the fetuses
Of the women about you? Of the women about you?
I know noble accents I know noble lies
And lucid, inescapable rhythms; And lucid, inescapable truths;
But I know, too, But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved That arithmetic is involved
In what I know. In what I know.
When the blackbird flew out of sight, When Mitt Romney spoke of the 47 percent
It marked the edge It marked the edge
Of one of many circles. Of one of many circles.
At the sight of blackbirds At the sight of Mitt Romney
Flying in a green light, Telling birther jokes
Even the bawds of euphony Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply. Would cry out sharply
He rode over Connecticut He spoke down in Iowa
In a glass coach. On a fair stage
Once, a fear pierced him, Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook After he mistook
The shadow of his equipage Shadowy corporations.
For blackbirds. For people.
The river is moving. The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying. Paul Ryan must be lying.
It was evening all afternoon. It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing He was losing
And it was going to snow. And he was going to lose.
The blackbird sat Mitt Romney sat
In the cedar-limbs. Waiting for Karl Rove’s numbers.