Crows

THEN, suddenly, I was aware indeed
Of what he said, and was revolving it:
How, in the night, crows often take to wing,
Rising from off the tree-tops in Drumbarr,
And flying on: I pictured what he told.

The crows that shake the night-damp off their wings
Upon the stones out yonder in the fields,
The first live things that we see in the mornings;
The crows that march across the fields, that sit
Upon the ash-trees' branches, that fly home
And crowd the elm-tops over in Drumbarr;
The crows we look on at all hours of light,
Growing, and full, and going these black beings have
Another lifetime!

Crows flying in the dark
Blackness in darkness flying; beings unseen
Except by eyes that are like to their own
Trespassers' eyes!

And you, old man, with eyes so quick and sharp,
Who've told me of the crows, my fosterer;
And you, old woman, upon whose lap I've lain
When I was taken from my mother's lap;
And you, young girl, with looks that have come down
From forefathers, my kin ye have another life
I've glimpsed it, I becoming trespasser-
Blackness in darkness flying like the crows!

by Padraic Colum

Comments (10)

The crows that shake the night-damp off their wings Upon the stones out yonder in the fields, The first live things that we see in the mornings; The crows that march across the fields, that sit Upon the ash-trees' branches, that fly home And crowd the elm-tops over in Drumbarr; The crows we look on at all hours of light, Growing, and full, and going these black beings have Another lifetime! - - - - - - - this entire poem is full of luscious images and a meaningfulness that lies in the lines so darkly glimmering
Blackness in darkness flying like the crows! Nice poem.
'that shake the night damp off their wings' This is a great poem that tenderly transitions from crows back to the speaker. So much great poetry from Ireland- the land where poetry itself sits enthroned. MM
Crows are always a good topic for a poem. And a great metaphorical vehicle. (If I do say so myself.) First read through I was originally put off by the opening stanza. Why the slow start? The oblique winging in to the substance? I want direct observation of the crows, not hearsay from another. And the litany of observation in the second stanza is spot on. Concrete. Indisputable. And for all that, pedestrian. I mean no poetic explosion into the realm of glittering brilliance. That comes in the third stanza, fortunately. Mystification. A crow in the night (like a polar bear in a snow storm) , not what's there - there - but what's in the mind behind the eyes. The transformative metaphor. So the fourth stanza returns to the human realm and relates the metaphor learned from the birds there. The observer, the nurturer, and then who? Sibling? More likely paramour, I think. He sees, shares with her, a secret in the dark. A trespass. How titillating. Under cover in the secret of the night.
An interesting write on crows. Congratulations to his soul.
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