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Whether the same crow as last year has returned

or this is a different crow with the same habits

is as much a metaphysical issue

as a zoological one – whichever

is the case the sequence of events

in the Great Lockdown is being repeated.

Early morning the crow flies in, and places

a piece of bread in the bird bath – where blackbirds

have bathed, and robins sipped; flies off; returns

in hours, and snacks on the marinated bread;

flies off; returns, and so on until

the starchy carrion has all gone.


Last year baguettes were preferred – this year crusts

with butter and strawberry jam. I watch,

from the kitchen window, the creature

gripping the edge of the diminutive

bird bath – not a sable, obsidian

feather out of place, its neolithic beak

supping fastidiously. We thrive

on patterns me and the crow – it snacking

on throwaways, me making nine, ten,

eleven beats to the line. So is this,

perhaps, some prank from beyond the grave – Ted

Hughes’s Crow mocking my orderly verses?

Or a hoax – the black spot posing as white bread?


When I inspect this morning’s dunking –

a triangular piece of garlic bread –

the crow, on a nearby chimney, sets up

such a cawing one would think, in the words

of the old saw, the world was about to end:

when we may perish from surfeit, or from

puzzlement, when earth, air, water are

consumed with plastic particulates,

and small family groups in unnamed deserts

defend their pots of fire?





© Copyright David Selzer
1 Response
  • John Huddart
    May 28, 2021

    A worthy successor to Ted Hughes – more memorable, and featuring a confident use of that marvelous word “obsidian”.

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