This essay explores a modern American poem—its verse form, imagery, diction, and rhythm, and, in particular, its cultural echoes, resonances, and overtones. I examine the poem’s explicit invocation of Apelles and crow mythology, but I also show that the implicit context from which it arises, and the one that allows it to speak with the greatest fullness and power, is work that Shakespeare wrote or published between 1606 and 1609. This context allows us to see that, at the heart of the poem, lies the Shakespearean and Platonic analogy between the creation of children and the creation of intellectual work.