A couple of weeks into the Great Lockdown –
robins nesting in the ivy, wild bees
in the eaves, as usual – we were
visited one day by a carrion crow,
its feathers of a blackness beyond
perfection, clinkered armour buffed bright.
It landed, the size of a large cat,
on our modest bird bath beside the lilies
beginning to burgeon. In its beak
was a portion-sized piece of baguette
or ciabatta, which it dropped in the water,
then flew off. At intervals it returned,
snacked on the softening bread, and left.
For a week and more it had the same routine
each day – and then never appeared again.
Maybe its local supply of hard, stale crusts
closed down – or it discovered a bakery
careless with fresh products. Its curious
visits, though fascinating, held a threat.
What if it’s ‘caw, caw’ were merely cover,
and, when it rejoined its muster, it said,
‘Comrades, here’s an end to waiting for the crumbs!’
or, alternatively, ‘Colleagues, regarding
the dry bread problem, I have a proposal…’?
I imagined an Hitchcockian horde
darkening our skies, murdering paradise.