Poetry


Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

From Louis Jenkins from Before You Know It: Prose Poems 1970-2005:
 

The Language of Crows
Louis Jenkins


A crow has discovered a scrap of roadkill on the blacktop and
can't resist telling everyone in a loud voice.  Immediately another
crow arrives on the scene and the fight begins, cawing,
flapping, and biting. Suddenly crows come flying in from every
direction to enter the battle, skimming low over the treetops, 
all cawing loudly.  Finally one crow (it's impossible to tell which) 
makes off with the prize and flies for a few hundred feet into the trees.
But as soon as he stops the others are on him and the melee beings again.  
This scene is repeated time after time and each time the crow moves farther
away into the woods until their cawing has grown faint but remains un-
diminished in intensity.  Crows have a limited vocabulary, like someone
who swears constantly, and communication seems to be a matter
of emphasis and volume.

If you lie quietly in bed in the very early morning, in the half-light 
before time begins, and listen carefully, the language of crows is easy
to understand.  "Here I am." That's really all there is to say and we say it
again and again. 

***** 

From the same collection:


Spring Breakup
Louis Jenkins


Out on the big lake it's all glitter and surface, rumor and 
innuendo, voices that run like a shiver, out and out...At
the shore great slabs of ice pile up; ruined glass houses, the
speculative mansions of heaven that just didn't sell and fell
prey to vandals. Wherever two worlds come together damage 
is done. Yet the world of dreams is not much different than 
our own. In both one accepts cruelty and nonsense gratefully
and believes.  Even if you place your feet carefully and expect
the worst, awakening is as sudden and unreckoned as the water.


*****

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