Word count = 695 / Reading time = 3 minutes plus however much time you spend at Candy’s linked Blog!
As I’ve mentioned in several recent posts, one of the things I love about WordPress is its power to inspire. It’s been quite a while since I wrote a serious new poem. As I was scrolling through my feed today, I came across a post from my friend Candy Lebby, who blogs at Fantastical Murmurs. Her brief, simple post, two haiku about crows by the deceased English poet Ted Hughes, inspired me in several ways.
I visited my awesome Nashville Public Library’s Web site to see what works of Hughes’s are available, so I can read some more of his work. I remarked to Candy how much I’ve always enjoyed crows and the ways they’re represented in literature. I recalled two of my all-time favorite poems, Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”, of course, but also Stephen Dobyns’ “Six Poems on Moving”. And finally, I was inspired to write my own poem about a crow.
Now, I have to admit, it’s difficult to write while sitting in court; it can be quite chaotic. And although I often enjoy long periods of inactivity, they are punctuated by the frequent demand for several different types of distracting action on my part. Although my poem is a touch rough and ragged, I’m pretty damned proud of it considering the time frame and the circumstances of its writing. I hope y’all will let me know what you think of it in the comments.
Following my poem is a reblog of Candy’s post with a link to her delightful blog. Please spare her a few views as soon as you finish reading and commenting. Thank you, Candy!
Grown weary of merely watching,
from the comfort of my covered deck,
the furtive scheming and solemn antics
of a murder of somber crows careeening
from tree to skeletal tree,
I determined to lure one in,
if I could, to keep as my very own pet.
The plan, devised around research revealing that
crows bear grudges and recognize human faces,
required time, patience, persistence, and food.
If they can bear a grudge, thought I, surely they must
also be capable of good will and attachment.
I ventured down from my lofty perch,
scattered generous handfuls of seed along
the border of their wood, retreated,
but only a little, then daily repeated, retreating
less each time, watched closely for signs,
of which ones might be warming, won over
by me beneficence, willing to suffer
my further encroachment.
They cawed amongst themselves without surcease,
a symphony of rough sawblades at work,
saying things like, I imagined, “This guy’s alright,” or
“I don’t trust him,” and “My, he sure is handsome!”
as they all grew fat and lustrous.
On a chill and rainy day, I swear one, set apart by
his notched beak and a particular glint
to his gaze, as frigid water sluiced
down the gutter of his beak-scar, and
he sidled closer, hopping, eyeing me,
said, “I am so damn ready to bust outta this woody prison!
No crow here gets me, I don’t fit in,”
he lamented, pecking seed from my palm with
more vigor than usual, raising his wings,
and I knew he was The One.
He walked up my arm, perched on my shoulder,
proceeded to preen my windblown, rainsoaked
curls with gentle beaky tugs and his tough, blue tongue.
Slowly at first but with growing assurance, I
turned, walked, mounted stairs, paused on my porch.
I could not welcome him into my home unchristened,
so with thoughts of his fabled distant cousin,
the raven, in fact, so aptly named by my
long-departed poetic hero Mr. Poe, I asked,
“How do you feel about the name Nepenthe,
noble crow, since I anticipate your presence
will bring me peace?” He lifted midnight wings,
fluffed iridescent feathers, raised his princely head,
and cawed, magnificent, “Forevermore!”
So in we went.
Again, please let me know what you think, whether you like it, love it, or hate it, in the comments below.
And now the long-awaited reblog that inspired my poem:
Crows caw, piercing shriek
Flocks of black darken the sky
Please read the rest of Candy Lebby’s post at Fantastical Murmurs!