Monday, 23 May 2011

Tuesday Poem: Raven Roosting


IV - Raven Roosting

Crow’s cousin
black in the blue alphabet
hung in the thorn hedge
by the neck - jet
claws still clutching
tail feathers a dark rainbow
in the spectrum of mourning
one eye open
the long beak parted -

‘I am everything I see and
I am this too.’


He has left his sky-skin
for the flies.


Kathleen Jones

Some readers will remember that I posted a week ago about finding a newly killed carrion crow hung in a hedge while out on a walk.  Somehow this co-incided with my thoughts about Ravens in mythology, which has been triggered by the reading of a remarkable book -  'A Story as Sharp as a Knife:  The Haida Mythtellers and Their World'.    It's all about the demise of oral story-telling and the traditions we've lost as a result.   Once, poets were the keepers of a tribe's history and identity.  They worked and re-worked the same fabric, but never in the same way, and embroidered and embellished it according to conventions that have also been lost.  Stories were handed down like heirlooms, as gifts, to be shaped and re-told by those who inherited them. (and isn't this what we did with the Tuesday Birthday Poem?)  I've always been fascinated by the way that old-english poets were known as 'schopes' - from the verb 'to shape'.  In some of the old european languages the verb for making a story was the same as that for a potter making a pot.
So I started writing a poem that was a re-shaping of a part of the Raven myth and then ended up writing more - I think probably it will become a series - a re-telling of an old myth with  (hopefully!) a modern twist.  I often think that these old mythologies remain relevant because they are telling fundamental truths about the human condition.
I'll be posting on the Haida Mythtellers later in the week.

For more poems please visit the Tuesday Poem website at http://www.tuesdaypoem.blogspot.com/




3 comments:

  1. Starkly beautiful Kathleen.

    I do remember you finding the poor crow on your walk. I love crows, I always feel they are very undeserving of the reputaion they have. They are immensly clever and sociable creatures. Amazing survivors.
    By strange cooincidence there is one calling outside the holiday cottage I am in which typing this. Deb is still asleep so maybe I will take astroll with my camera and see if I can catch him (or her).

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  2. This is breathtaking and disturbing, pared to the bone. Wow.

    And that photo!

    Thank-you.

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  3. great imagery. Love 'sky-skin'

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