Wednesday January 25th, 2012

The exercise:

Write about: crows.

Thank you to those who replied to my call for assistance yesterday, twas much appreciated. I'm planning on revealing my nefarious pl... er, innocent fun tomorrow. So there's still time to send something my way if you haven't had the chance to yet.


He sits on a fence post,
Not far from the front gate;
Keeping watch on the house,
Just waiting for his date.

On his back a ghost sits,
Whispering instructions;
She has waited so long
For this introduction.

In the house mourning dawns
And a soul is set free;
Out the window it slips -
The crow is first to see.

With a cry he takes flight,
Brings old ghost to meet new;
Husband and wife made one,
After too long as two.


Greg said...

That's a very sweet poem, mixing some traditional ideas about crows with some new ones. I particularly like the play on words at the start of the third verse; that makes the whole poem for me! (That said, the last line of the third verse feels a little bit stilted, probably because of the need to keep the rhyme.)

Huginn and Muninn were sitting on the branch of a tree, watching the two men hiding in the bushes below. Huginn turned his head to one side, so that a bright, beady eye could better see them, and cawed softly. Muninn shuffled along the branch and nudged him with his shoulder, then turned his head to the other side to peer at them through a beady eye as well.
"Was thad you, Vince?" asked Dave, trying to whisper. His cold made it difficult though.
"No Dave," whispered Vince. "Sounded like Corvus brachyrhynchos to me."
Up in the branches Muninn danced back along his branch a little, and the two crows exhibited a little bit of wariness, shuffling about and ruffling their feathers.
"You bloody whad?" said Dave. His nose was blocked and his sinuses felt like they were on fire. He knew it was his own fault: Vince has suggested snorting chili powder to sort the cold out, and like an idiot he'd done it.
"Crows, Dave," said Vince patiently. "Up in the tree." He pointed helpfully, as though Dave didn't know where the tree was.
"Oh yed, thand-you so bloody much." The effort to whisper proved too much, and he sneezed violently, shaking the bushes. Huginn and Muninn shook with laughter, and Vince stared up into the tree and seemed to see them, even when the sidled back along the branch and pressed themselves against the trunk.
"Let's go," said Muninn in Corvid, sounding to Dave like a sudden attach of caw-ing. They launched themselves from the tree like untidy black feather-mops, and flew off to where Sleipnir and his rider were waiting, leaving Dave a little aerial present for his trouble.
"Unlucky there, Dave," said Vince, fishing in his pocket for a tissue.

Anonymous said...


At London’s Tower they’re called ravens. Large, black, they’ve resided there for centuries, an ominous reminder to other residents their reason for being there.
At a previous abode they woke us daily with their fighting ritual over a field mouse or too, but we didn’t shun them too much as they scared off the snakes, too.
Not all birds have nice voices. Minahs twitching, corellas screeching (won’t miss that), lorikeets following in their wake.  Pigeons cooing, owls hooting, even magpies make  a homely statement, when you’re far from home.
Today we saw a sparrow; haven’t seen one for years, especially sharing air-space with the seagulls.
And this morning, in unfamiliar new territory made ours, we awoke to the dance of the crows, a certain kind of sound of home.
All is well.

Anonymous said...

one of those toos should read two. " yawn" it's late...

Cathryn Leigh said...

@Marc - going to try and send you a picture soon. Loved your poem.

@Greg - nice take on a bird's eye view

@Morganna - Lorikeets are colourful pigions, imo. I visited Australia once and watched my Dad feed them off the balconey of our hotel room *facepalm*.

And for my take, a silly little poem, probably a bit horrid, but while All Ravens are Crows, not all Crows are Ravens


Crows and Ravens are two different beasts.
Though Ravens are crows, but not in the least.
In size the Ravens are quite like eagles,
While crows can fit on the head of a beagle.

And really would Edgar Allen Poe,
Be scared of a pigeon toe?
No Ravens are bigger and scarier birds,
Than the crow is for avian nerds.

Cathryn Leigh said...

Okay the @Morganna should be At Writebite... Obviously my cappuchino had no effect on my brain gthis morning *sigh*

David said...

@Marc - loved that poem, "mourning" did it for me too.

@Greg - nice little scene - really liked the "chili powder" remedy and the stuffed up dialogue -- made me think of grave robbers.

@writebite - really like the last sentence - even "ugly" things can make us feel at home.

@cathryn leigh - lol silly little poem perhaps, but you gotta write what comes to you in these exercises.

Here is mine:

The cold January wind fluttered his feathers as he laid on the highway blacktop. I stared into his cold unforgiving eyes, unsure what etiquette required me to do. His chest heaved. Air rushed into his belly as he tried to block out the pain of his broken back.

“I’m sorry,” I said.

He continued his rapid breathing, knowing it was the only action he could take. I traced the skid marks on the asphalt, replayed the previous few minutes, and tried to calculate how a different result could have been achieved.

The crow trembled, using its energy to try and pop up to its feet. Perhaps it could fly away and escape this situation. It fell back to the ground, wings flapping lightly.

I bent down and lifted him into my hands. We locked eyes again, both of us more lifeless by the minute. I patted him on the head and flung him into the sky, waiting for him to majestically take flight, and disheartened when he crashed fifteen feet away with a sickening thud.

I got back into my car and drove on, needing to find life, or at least a beer.

Stupid bird.

morganna said...

Rich black
Omen of

Iron Bess said...


A stain of coal flutters and lands on a diamond crusted mountain of freshly plowed snow. Garnet eyes gleam from its small head as it scans the parking lot for a potential meal. It fluffs its feathers out and pulls one leg up into the warmth then settles in to wait. Even though the day is bright and crystalline the sunlight gives off little heat. No heat. It only gives the day emerald sparkles when it passes through a 7Up bottle. The ebony bird moves behind a large lump as the wind blows jewelled powder up and over the mound.

Cocooned in a fur-lined coat a small plump woman hurries from the grocery store clutching several heavy bags the squeak of her boots echo off the white rime of the surrounding buildings. Her plastic bags crackle with the cold as she fumbles with her keys. Suddenly one bag splits and the crow sits up straight, the contents are scattered around her feet like small colourful blocks of wood. Quickly she scoops up every scrap leaving only her foot prints in the snow. The crow croaks a soft mournful call.

As her car pulls out a round olivine is revealed lying forgotten on the ground. A second later it launches itself from its perch tearing at the morsel before it even alights. It has survived another day.

Krystin Scott said...

A beauty, the phantom queen
flies the cloudless skies above
she is the bringer of fertility
but very often not of love.

This godess bestows war and death
to all the people of her lands
while her warriors cut them down
one by one, bloody swords in hand.

The Irish fear this diety
for the Morrigan they all know
she has come to impart upon them strife
in the form of the crow.

Marc said...

Greg - thanks! Yeah, I struggled with a few of the later lines to make them fit.

Fantastic descriptions of the crows and their behavior. And another welcome appearance by your dynamic duo :)

Writebite - love that ending sentiment. Very nicely done.

Elor - thank you :)

Hah, the eagles / beagles rhyme totally makes that poem for me :D

David - wonderful descriptions of the scene. And that ending line was spot on - that's exactly how I'd feel too.

Morganna - you have a gift for the short works with impact. Very nicely done yet again.

Iron Bess - you really nailed the imagery on this one. Brought the scene to life, and I ended up being glad the crow found food after all.

Krystin - absolutely lovely. A joy to read out loud :)