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for Ashen Venema


Walking back to the house from the composter

one late afternoon in early autumn

I looked up, and stopped. There was a roseate,

mackerel sky moving from North East Wales

over the Cheshire Plain towards the Pennines,

and drifting above me. Whatever weather

it presaged, it was ordinarily

lovely, a mundane epiphany.


At the kitchen door I turned and there

was a raven on the paving where I had been,

that frequenter of uplands, and slaughter.

I thought of Lawrence and the snake and waited.

The bird was in profile twenty feet away –

immense, and sleek, and dark as anthracite.


I saw, beyond the bird, our neighbour’s’ cat

approaching in stalking mode. The raven,

opening its wings unhurriedly,

rose into the sky with its mocking

call like a witch’s laugh.




© Copyright David Selzer
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