No Ode For A Crow
November numbs the ground, dumbs the air.
Now comes the sound of nothing there.
Low over the land, the sun shines falsely.
Does not fool me, no heat in bright glare.
Bare roots are clutched in clammy hold.
The caw of the crow claims the cold.
No, no one ever wrote an ode to a crow,
like Keats to a nightingale, Shelley to a sky lark.
If birds, like humans, are judged by the seeds that they sow,
I read English history in the caw of the crow,
the side that is criminal, war like, bare and dark.
If a crow could speak in human tongue,
no pleasant spring time love song would be sung,
but a dirge of who the hangman hung,
how he fed on the dead on the gibbet strung,
followed the plague cart, flapped down to feast
on the slain on the battle ground,
after one side had won, the other had lost,
and the cold caw of the crow was the only sound.
Now the lawnmower, along with the spade and the rake,
hibernates in the shed.
Outside, in my hardened garden,
the sparrow and robin perch in silence, at times,
but all those finches I failed to name have fled.
No, but the crow does not leave us in winter,
but watches the ways all year round.
In the skin of the air, he pricks a sharp splinter,
his kra kra kra the only sound.
Whatever words the wind may blow,
down the hollow of my chimney, hear it say no,
no ode for a crow.