|Crow realized God loved himâ€“
Otherwise, he would have dropped dead.
So that was proved.
|– Ted Hughes|
This one’s just a plain crow, pal,
Flapping its wings as if to fly
While grasping tight with claws the fence,
Trying for nothing, or just to try.
It isn’t lark or dove or linnet,
It isn’t mild or sycophantic.
It rolls its shrouded, shrieking caw
Along the wire, remotely frantic.
So here I am, peeling meaning,
Tossing it back like so much trash.
The crow protests, a frayed black mess
Of hollow bones and air and flesh,
No rarae aves. Common ones,
A dime a dozen, thieves of glitter,
Black lace fan of fancy panic,
Midwestern plague, sycamore clutter.
Who’ll sing a psalm for days long gone?
The nightingale? The darkling thrush?
Who’ll catch the blood and sew the shroud,
Tally the holdings of hand and bush?
And who has time to wrestle down
A God beyond, or one who’s here,
Sucking on brandy and cigars,
Scoffing at an erstwhile fear,
The cruciate bloom of a man’s first lie,
Of staying afloat or drawing breath?
Not I said the fly with his little eye Just before he’s smacked to death.
A rook takes off, flaps across the sky,
A severed wing in its bright black beak.
And who am I to write that down?
I’d rather let the sparrow speak.