Vendler notes that section eight presents "nobility and euphony, as cognitive objects, fatally contaminated by the temporality and alienation of consciousness" (13).
In this section the speaker, whether intended by Stevens to be interpreted as his own voice or not, is, if nothing else, inferably a poet, who "know[s] noble accents/ And lucid, inescapable rhythms." Beyond this, however, the speaker admits or, rather, affirms that "the blackbird is involved/ In what [he] know[s]." It is here that one can comprehend McNamara's point that merely understanding "the blackbird" as symbolic of death is a severely limited reading. While it certainly is a valid assertion that death is an ever present entity on the mind of the poet, as it has been for all of man's existence (so much so that it is utterly "involved" in what we know,) death is only the beginning of what the blackbird represents. McNamara goes a step further in his criticism, including nature, too, as something which the blackbird symbolizes scope (446). This additon to the blackbird's symbolic scope by McNamara still, however, leaves it underdetermined.
The blackbird that Stevens wrote of may, indeed, represent all that is secular. Though death and nature are a part of this, those ideas fall short of embodying all the times of desperation, hopelessness and loneliness which are inherently part of human existence - but also too the times of joy, both absolute and passing, those small satisfactions in life, and even the times of sheer idle boredom-- everything that makes us who we are. One should not overlook the possibility that all of this is symbolized in Stevens' blackbird, and indeed all of it is involved in what the speaker knows. From this one gains new perspective into another poem from Harmonium, Stevens' "The Snow Man", as in it the poet says that one must truly "have a mind of winter" to behold the scene set before it - to remove itself from all other influence, the good and the bad, to behold "Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is."
Section eight of Stevens' poem is noted by Bogen to relate to haiku through what she describes as "three line sense units" (217).