In your native landscape
they call you taka chor—
always wanting more, more–
Filling trees with loud calls,
to be both heard and seen–
crow to the core
The rufous treepie, a long-tailed bird native to India and southeast Asia, is known locally as taka chor, or “coin stealer”. Like all corvids, it loves shiny objects, and has no misgivings about taking anything that catches its eye.
Also, like all crows, it will eat pretty much anything, and is intelligent, adaptable, and opportunistic.
Primarily arboreal, it feeds mostly among the forest cover, and will often hunt with other bird species to flush out more insects from the trees. As its woodland habitat decreases, however, it has learned to live in urban parks and yards, and has no problem eating discarded human food or road kill, if that’s what’s available.
I chose the rufous treepie while looking for orange and black birds in honor of the Year of the Tiger. That may be my bird theme for the year–there are many to choose from.
The poem is an abhanga for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday. Appropriately, an Indian poetic form.
The top bird was done with brush and ink, the middle one is neocolors, and the bottom one is colored pencil with ink outlines–I found a feather quill pen I bought years ago in a box. It’s a bit tricky to use, and I’m out of practice. But I enjoyed working with it again.
The morning wakes without rain,
a shimmer of green
appearing from the silhouettes
of the trees scattered between
buildings. Silence floats
off the glossy reflections
of the windows
holding the rising sun.
I look for Crow flashing
black feathers as he calls
from somewhere I can’t see.
His voice bounces off
the brick and I imagine
he raises his sharp beak,
laughing as he follows
my eyes searching for the sound.
I have not asked him to speak–
he does not wait for invitations—
I do not for an instant believe
he is without purpose here
on this clear morning calling me
as usual to attention. Do you
pretend you know me?
he asks, and what can I reply?
How can you ever pretend
to know another when
you cannot even see who
this person is that you carry
with you all the time?
Who is this being that you call
is their true name?
Another piece of art inspired by Nina–her joyful birds, above. For the poem, I used a prompt posted awhile ago by Miz Quickly, in which you take lines from a poem and write them every few lines on a piece of paper and fill in the spaces between with your own words.
As Jane told me recently, it’s hard to find a poem of mine that doesn’t talk about birds. I used lines from an Adrian C. Louis poem “Magpie in Margaritaville”, which I found in the wonderful Tupelo Press book “Native Voices”. I couldn’t find a link to the poem online, but you can read about the poet, a member of the Paiute Tribe, here.
Also linking to earthweal, open link weekend.
Crow calls to me from above. There he is—on that roof. He extends his invitation again and again.
leave sidewalks behind–
rise, and conjure golden fields
waving to azure
skies filled with high flying clouds,
wings singing songs into the air
I know there is magic here, even in places filled with concrete and glass.
Holding out my arms, I wish: carry me home.
watching my child-self
lying in a bed of green–
opened up, shining
For NaPoWriMo today, we are talking to animals. Crow is always hanging around in my world.
one set of boot tracks
grey clouds mingle with absence
paths left untrodden
For a long time I started each month with a collage grid and a haiku. This month, having done a grey February mandala (perhaps next month a grid), I decided to take up Frank Tassone’s challenge to honor poet Rachel Sutcliffe by writing haiku inspired by her words.
his death day
in graveyard shadows
voices now lost to the wind
crows calling grey skies
Hopefully the grey will clear out before February’s end…
Autumn. I fall into disrepair. The sky still covers me, but my shadow dissolves into the remains of the golden ocean that heretofore eddied and flowed at my feet. My skin lies ragged, unfilled.
I was crowned, once, with dark discordant ornaments. They sit on other thrones now, unrepentant pretenders, still calling the sun, the wind–the land itself–to task.
A crow flies over
a graveyard—blackness on stone–
change hangs in the air
When I saw Frank Tassone’s Haikai Challenge about scarecrows, I was intrigued. I can’t think of Scarecrow without thinking of Robert Okaji’s wise sage. So whatever I did would be colored by what Robert has written. I also decided to use the words from Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday, synonyms for ghost and hollow, as many of them seemed to fit on Scarecrow too.
As to Crow–he’s always around here somewhere.
Once again, different light makes the metallic paint change like the weather and the seasons…and this is another artwork inspired by Joan Mitchell being inspired by Van Gogh. Circles within circles.
Also linked to dVerse Open Link Night.
I thought I saw blue jays, but red feathers and whistles turned them into cardinals. I thought I saw cardinals, but the starlings stole their song. I thought I saw starlings, but they grew huge and then they laughed in a raucous crow chorus.
Which bird? you ask, which
bird?—sparrows, tiny sparrows–
wings to wish upon
This is based on a fragment of a dream that came back to me with the birds in the morning. All five birds mentioned are often both heard and seen outside my windows and doors (and, apparently, also in my dreams).
“Curse not the king, no, not even in thy thoughts, and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber; for a bird of the air shall carry thy voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter.” –Ecclesiastes 10:20
Black is for nothing
waiting—shadow bird, mirrored
particles of air
of skies that open
wings, hold inside the absent
voice that shatters all
which is, which becomes,
which hath grown darkness—veiled words
Nothing is waiting,
nothing sings but the silence.
All is black on black,
formless, flying on
feathers’ breath, and all shall be
now and forever
nothing nothing no
thing nothing nothing nothing
nothing nothing no
cries no conjuring–
every thing zeros falls in
to black as black is–
Frank Tassone’s Haikai Challenge this week is “Raven”. I have many a crow poem and many pieces of crow art in some form of completion, and this is a poem I’ve been worrying for awhile. I changed its form recently from a series of shadormas to haikus. I think the shorter stanzas are better. But it’s still a work in progress.
Yesterday I was walking on 153rd Street, which borders Trinity Cemetery, and I heard some crows–then many many crows–looking up, a murder, circling and calling against the blue sky. I haven’t seen that in the city before. And I thought, well, I have artwork for that too.
What it signified I don’t yet know.
wondering why then suddenly where
diving divining reflecting sky scrying
and the tree and the meaning of be
the birth in the sky and the void in the flow
rising in greyness
the mystery flying
letting and leaving the tree now receiving
carries that no one can see
the sky grey the tree
For Sue Vincent’s photo prompt above. I can no more resist a crow than the moon.
Also linking to open link night on dVerse.