A common interpretation amongst critics of Wallace Steven's "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird" is to associate the blackbird (and the color black) with death. In her article "Stevens's Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird," Bogen further explores this:
Also deserving of closer scrutiny are the occurrences of the color black in the poem. There is a direct association of black with death in the exhortation to the thin men of Haddam in stanza 7: "Do you not see how the blackbird / Walks around the feet / Of the women about you?" Perhaps death is implied in the description in stanza 6 ("The shadow of the blackbird crossed it to and fro") and in the life cycle that begins with the spring thaw in stanza 12 ("The river is moving"), and very likely death underlies the conclusions in stanzas 4,8,10, and 11 ("A man and a woman and a blackbird / Are one"; "But I know, too, / that the blackbird is involved / In what I know"; "At the sight of blackbirds / Flying in a green light, / Even the bawds of euphony / Would cry out sharply"; "Once, a fear pierced him / In that he mistook / The shadow of his equipage / For blackbirds"). But on all of these occasions except for the two involving shadows (stanzas 6 and 11), death via black seems to be represented as a natural occurrence or, if you will, a part of process, and only once or twice (with respect to the mysterious rider in the coach in stanza 11 and possibly with the "bawds of euphony" in stanza 10) does death via black seem to have a negative connotation" (219).
While the blackbird as a symbol of death is widely accepted, some critics, including McNamara, stress the importance of looking beyond this to grasp the greater intended meaning of the poem. McNamara states: "That man is to die is important for Stevens; but he is more concerned with stressing the need, while the individual continues to live, of his appreciating reality. Awareness of death is important, but only as a stimulus to man's exploration of the things of this life" (McNamara, 446).