Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Indelible \ Three Ways Of Seeing The Raven

Alan: An ordinary occasion that only found its meaning years later.
As a kindness, we invited
the new widower to dinner, and,
in the darkening well
of silence after the meal,
asked him to demonstrate
his hobby, calligraphy.
So this slight man, who seemed less
racked by sorrow than compressed,
uncapped his pen and wrote,
passing the evening until
he could extract himself
from our solicitude.
I sometimes imagine him
still, alone in the afternoon,
practicing his uncials, italics,
majuscules and minuscules,
left to right, sheaf after sheaf,
a minor art, but sufficient,
showing that grief
is something one swims through,
stroke by elegant stroke,
the indelible blue-black
looping and curling behind:
a medium in which one can drown
and at the same time flourish.
Nancy: Ravens are complex birds, and to be chosen as a neighbor by a raven is to be surprised and amused and – given their shy nature – honored.
Three Ways Of Seeing The Raven
1. See page 22, Crow Planet, where
        the raven’s voice is a “low, toadish croak.”
2. Before snowdrops
  ice still abandoned in the marsh
two ravens
above, in the spruce
how soft
touch on the neck
        later, at the nest
        careful silence
3. In May
the gardeners discuss with one another
the corn here
the beans there
above, in the spruce
the raven says yes
most conversational of neighbors
a low flow of commentary
yes to beans, yes to corn, yes to squash
good morning yes
good weather
I wait for the ripple of sound
that brief flash
when other dissolves in polyphony