Asking Crow. A poem by Cathy Ryan


The day breaks clean
as the flaming sun rises
from the sea’s lip of blue.
I walk the roads every morning now.

In the quiet I can taste
the breath of the Earth;
primrose banks
wealthy in yellow

the dash of cows
to the edges of hedges
curious, alert to the
sound of my step

the strut of a pheasant
soaked in the colours of kings,
the hulk of a buzzard cresting
a pole – like a sailor on the lookout for life.

The milky light of morning
peels open the day
and it’s Crow who stops me,
his cry close to words.

What are you saying?
You fly, beading the land
with your shiny black eyes.
What do you see?


The Crow is dead.
Stygian pitch on top
of the old stone wall
perfectly dropped perfectly whole
perfectly still.

Across the grass, a set of
clothes dry in the wind
dancing like ghosts, jerking
and slapping, looking for
a body to wear.

I bend closer to Crow.
His eye holds the sun, an inkwell of light
tail feathers spread, five fingers of wing:
Hold steady for death
It’s part of the dance.

Cathy is currently on the MA in Creative writing at UCC is her website

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