Nineteen Couplets on the Crowpocalypse, or Corvid-19
March 30, 2020
The task: write one clean crow-related line consisting of exactly
nineteen simple words that resist turning any poetic somersaults
across the valley. The sky was dark with a tornado of crows
moving westward thousands of crows Cawing, cawing.
Caw!, caw!, scare crow you don’t scare me. I’m going
to eat your corn, caw!, caw! and peck your tomatoes.
Crows squawking, orange peels!, scavengers indulge!,
at the break of dawn, quick, one more morsel!, off they go!
Crows circling, diving high in the sky. Red Baron and Snoopy
afraid to fly, Black Plague falling on humans.
Shining, iridescent, pitch lingering above circling shadows on
the grass–cawing, clucking, gathering to roost–a murder of crows.
Sheen of oil slicks with lemon rind eyes, hyphens dragging wingspans,
pummeling tree crowns and cloudscapes and still blue skies.
Squinting into sky, as a crow flies by, I hear
the echo of his screech and wince then cry.
One day a crow flew over me and dropped
a white marble in front of where I walked.
The day was so sweltering that even the crow eating
in the crabapple tree’s shade was out of breath.
Crow seeking love: Must like crabapples and orange peels.
Must like traveling West. And have a sense of cackle.
Crows souring on silent wings, above the bay,
cool breeze blowing, my soul is at peace.
Feeding crows peanuts in my neighborhood hoping
they give me a name; if they do, will I recognize it?
Perched above the busy highway they wait. The murder of crows
swoop down grabbing, consuming so fledglings can survive.
Looked up trying to forget walls and fences, then saw
ugly birds, so envied their freedom, their swirls.
Different colored spots, different types of birds—
the crow recognized itself in the mirror.
Crows shriek as we step outside, then swoop past
as we head off on our many necessary errands.
The trees leaned into the breeze, and swayed, and their
shadows swerved to cover me, and the black bird —
Murdered? T’was not what we feared; instead,
not “corvid” but “Covid” that we dread!
by Delia Vaden, Tom Vaden, Carol Dorf, Juanita Mantz, Mary Ann McFadden, Dar Stone, Lynn Doiron, Burcu Misirli Chatham, Stevie Taken, Barbara Berg, Doug McCulloh, Cati Porter, Cindi Neisinger, Natalie Champion, Robin Longfield, Julianna Cruz, and Steve Perry.
Original prompt: Write one line of poetry consisting of 19 words exactly AND include an image of a crow (yes, the bird) somewhere in the line.