Pencil Noir #9


The city’s crows peck and skewer carrion

selectively choosing between the perennial litter

left sodden and desultory in the winter rains.

I watch their darker shapes swoop about

on mite plagued wings

Curious and feisty feet hopping

through bony limbed trees.


I’d like to think we share

a similar response to the litter,

to this common visual insult,

despite our differences

of foot or beak or choice of cuisine.

They caw at me as I toe debris to the street,

summer’s occasional litter bagging I tell myself

improbable now in the drenched and cold.


Above me their black wings

posture and flex in raucous recognition.

I know they’re looking at me.

They’re intelligent birds

They own this side of the street

They recognize faces…

Startled I wonder what they see in mine?

Is there a password for this?


pencil sketch: j.h.white

29 responses

  1. great poem and art.
    they are amazing birds. I recently watched a thing about a girl who began feeding them. they began bringing her presents. feathers, shells and other things. one time her mother left her camera lens cap out where she’d been photographing, and they brought it back to her.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Belinda…This poem is my homage to these wonderful birds. I haven’t written poetry in awhile and needed a conspirator to work with. (LOL)

      I did see that piece about the young girl! Even wondered about trying it. The crows are as big as cats around here, but I think I live on too busy a street for them to pay us this much attention. I still have hopes though.


      • Yes definitely Jana. The crows are always up there lurking, hovering above the street lamps above the words. I like that your crows are un-showy. There’s a great poem by Raymond Carver called My Crow, well worth checking out.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Heckle and Jeckle, at one point, did cross my mind…

          Thought I’d share the Carver poem here…

          MY CROW

          A crow flew into the tree outside my window.
          It was not Ted Hughes’s crow, or Galway’s crow.
          Or Frost’s, Pasternak’s, or Lorca’s crow.
          Or one of Homer’s crows, stuffed with gore,
          after the battle. This was just a crow.
          That never fit in anywhere in its life,
          or did anything worth mentioning.
          It sat there on the branch for a few minutes.
          Then picked up and flew beautifully
          out of my life.

          Liked by 3 people

  2. I really love this poem Jana, and the evocative drawing is of you, I presume.
    There are crow’s in your world, or most likely, you are there, in the crow’s world.
    For a large part of the day, we live on the edge of life whilst they are fully engaged. They have seen you,they recognise your face. know your movements, the password…. being.
    Thank you Jana, I really enjoyed this post and all the comments, looking forward to watching the videos.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I believe you have solved the riddle Teri, in a most grace-filled way…

      “For a large part of the day, we live on the edge of life whilst they are fully engaged. They have seen you,they recognise your face. know your movements, the password…. being.”

      Thank you for this! I really love our dialogues…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. your artwork and poem work so well together. i enjoyed the touch of humor in the last line. interesting to see how many responses you’ve gotten on the subject of crows. my brothers and i took in a crow found by kids in a nearby river bed. someone had cut into the flesh of its wings, presumably to keep it from flying. it talked, saying “oh boy oh boy oh boy.” it responded to affection, bending its head down when we stroked its neck, its inner then outer eyelids closing as it savored the attention. it eventually recognized strangers to our house, walking over to them and pecking them in the ankles. when mom would hang up the laundry on the line in the backyard Connie the Crow would stealthily come up behind her, peck her ankle, grab the clothespin that mom would inevitably drop, and then hop back to its pen to add to its collection of interesting things. i will always have great respect for crows.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Two crows once dive bombed me on my way walking to school. Their feet (or wings) grazed the top of my head as I headed for safety under a bush. I imagined they were trying to take me away. For me, it was love at first sight. But lucky you!…how cool. What a wonderful experience to have and share growing up.
      I wasn’t aware crows have both an inner and an outer eyelid. Hmmm. And you were close enough to see this. Wonderful memories. Thanks for adding to the crow homage page!


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