Three Poems

A Conference of Crows



It is Nature’s charcoal sketch of a bird.

Although it sports no colourful plumage,

has a raucous cry, dines on garbage and makes

a picnic out of a roadside carcass, the bold

intelligent, clever crow is worthy of great respect

for having flourished despite human efforts


to decimate its numbers. Like the House Sparrow

the Common Crow is everywhere – along coastlines,

on mountain tops, in deserts and even in the arctic regions.

Possessing an uncanny talent to adapt to any habitat

the reputation it has earned is decidedly mixed:

glorified as a trickster in one place, the all-black Raven


is feared elsewhere as a bird of ill-omen. If a crow caws

insistently on your window sill or balcony, you can prepare

for the arrival of a guest. For the mockers of superstitions

it is just a spoiler of sleep. Like the parrot, the crow

is an impressive mimic able to whine like a dog, squawk

like a hen or cry like a baby. It shows its playful side


sliding down a slippery surface or harassing a flock

of gulls. It struts like a klutz fancying it can waltz.

Like a monkey, it watches for an opportune moment

to steal scraps from campers. Crows gather

in the hundreds to hold noisy rallies. A congregation

raises a parliamentary din, now recognised as


a murder of crows. Yet, this pragmatic, even

opportunistic bird has an almost sacred personal ethic:

crows maintain loyal, lifelong pair bonds, enduring

food scarcity and harsh weather to raise their young.

They live in close domestic proximity to us, but wary

of human intentions, they will not befriend us.


Because their ties with us are ageless, they let us

eavesdrop on their conference, so we may learn

to heed the call of the crow.


Heart’s Beast: New and Selected Poems is published by Copper Coin Publishing (India, 2017).


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