A Cannon Beach Crow Album
Ursula K. Le Guin
I wrote a poem called The Local Crow
the poem got lost long ago
so did the crow
the black wings come across my mind
the words I cannot find
Snow halfseen in the rain
on a dark east wind.
A crow flies the hard way.
Winter is my mind.
Gusts of smoke, ghosts of snow
through the old trees
blow on the crow’s wind
to a cold sea.
They came in their usual black
unusually silent, sat
on one branch or another,
shifting about, uneasy,
as if the funeral was late.
Dead ivy smothered
their ruinous chapel.
One by one they took flight
Crow on the broken tree, cawing.
Nobody answers. A meaningless
mineral noise from the ocean
crashing and hissing, half rhymic, unceasing.
But not the characteristic indignant
croak, or the rattle they make when they’re courting.
Anthracite-shining, solid of body,
firm on the ground, heavy aloft.
Sociable creatures, gossipy. Excellent parents.
Crows do not migrate. Crows hang around.
We brought the virus, we tourists, highflyers,
over from Egypt, over the oceans
crashing and hissing the way they were doing
ages before anyone cawed, anyone courted,
anyone heard, and the way they’ll be doing
after we’ve all gone back into silence
and nobody answers. Never a word.
Crows are the color of anarchy
and close up they’re a little scary.
An eye as bright as anything.
Having a pet crow would be
like having Voltaire on a string.
Crows continually going and coming
call to other crows, caw, cark, talk,
and flit like heavy fragments of cast iron, black,
thrown from this tree to that,
and in that tree or this sit throned
like black, heavy fragments of cast iron, talk,
cark, call, caw to other crows that flit
and sit in a continual coming and going of crows.