5/5/20 update: The wondrously creative Tracy at Reflections of An Untidy Mind saw my poem and invited me to link to her Corvid 2020 Weekly Challenge #7. How could I resist? Please take some time to peruse Tracy’s delightful blog and, while you’re there, consider participating in her challenge. Thank you, Tracy dear!
Oops. I’m a moron. In my original post, I failed to realize that Christine Bialczak at Stine Writing was re-blogging Chelsea Ann Owens‘ The Weekly Hilarity Contest, which challenges us to “[w]rite a short story, poem, or really long sentence about [b]irds” so linked to and credited the wrong Blogger. Christine & Chelsea, please forgive me.
Chelsea wants us to make her laugh, and I wrote the following quirky, silly poem, inspired by the works of one of my top literary heroes, with a twinkle in my eye and a smile on my lips. I doubt if it will win the contest, but I’ll give bonus points for anyone who can name the author and particular poem that inspired it. Enjoy, and please let me know what you think in my Comments section. Oh, and don’t forget to check out Chelsea’s site and make your own contribution to this cool challenge!
Grown weary of merely watching,
from the comfort of my covered deck,
the furtive scheming and solemn antics
of a murder of somber crows careening
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 my 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.
And since Harley Kallisti’s blog shares its title with my crow’s name, I challenge The Nepenthe to offer a response. Are you up for it, Harley?