I have long had a fascination with crows, esp. since they are often maligned. They are some of the most intelligent birds and have existed in many cultures and places around the world since ancient times. They appear in cave paintings in one form or another, and some believe that they may have crossed into North America accompanying the human hunters in some way. This is one of a series of poems where I explore the ancient and magical, yet benevolent and wise side of the crow.
Language of crows
Even on the days I don’t want to,
I make myself
take out the shoebox of words
and I think about the crows.
Remember the crows?
Oracles of the morning,
iridescent black voices
vollied “kaws” from tree to tree,
echoing off the canvas of our tents.
We called them our crows,
as if we could own them that summer.
Thought we understood their ancient tongue
percolating down the banks of the South Fork
syllables swallowed in river currents
lolled by its watery mouth
chewed up by boulders, beds of pebbles
and spit into channels of loamy soil
where we thought we discovered our pre-history
and where the crows came to feed.
The crows eyed us as they fed on the river shores
scratched out of the clay pans the ancient tales
that fortified their primitive spirits
their origins as old as our own.
They talked and laughed and sang to each other
our history, the world’s history,
the secrets of our future and what we were
Fall came, we packed our artifacts in boxes
abandoned the South Fork and promptly forgot.
The crow voices fell from the trees in cascades
red, gold, yellow and brown.
Buried but not forgotten.
Even now, we detect echoes in the distance
heard but not seen
And on those days , I have this shoebox
my secret cache of inky blackness
waiting to tell me something
in an iridescent tongue.