Black All Over

For The Sunday Whirl: Wordle #206

crawled, crows, heart, grain, clay, splintered,
bones, crack, collapse, quilts, escaping, open


Black All Over

Have a crow deep in my soul. Crawled
through small open crack made years ago.
Owns divided, splintered heart. Can not
choose between clay of opposing legends.
Grain of truth in bones of both stories.

In one, he is hero. Bringing fire to the People,
that they might find warmth beneath their fur
robes and quilts in freezing winter, but his feathers
burned in that flight. In the other, fool. Refusing
to share bright rainbow plumage with his own
dark shadow, pecking at it ‘til it escaped, rose up,
and swallowed him whole.

Near collapse from his indecision, worries it
through days and nights because he knows
no matter the choice made, he will always be
black all over.

Elizabeth Crawford  7/5/15

Notes: I mixed two myths here. Both seek to explain why the bird became ‘black all over’. When the idea to write this came into my head, I related it to our human reality of knowing that no matter how much good we might do, the bad always feels so much heavier and darker in texture. I am in my new home, still unpacking but making some headway. I have several huge windows here and everyday the birds come to visit. Among them, a large crow that sits on the fence just outside my bedroom window, leans down and tries to tell me his story. The image is a photo I took last summer during a bonfire evening at my sister’s home.

About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here:
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31 Responses to Black All Over

  1. vandana says:

    nicely wooven


  2. Elizabeth – no wonder you haven’t been around much lately – you have undergone the horror of moving house. But it looks as though it’s turned out well for you.

    Prometheus and ? your myths make a good poem out of the mishmash of words.


  3. totomai says:

    i always think of crows as omen. in the poem, the crow may be aware of the death coming along the way but it is a fool so there was no escape


  4. Sumana Roy says:

    rainbow crow’s sacrifice is commemorated and was for a good cause but it’s so difficult for us to recover from the shocks of the happenings all around us…the bad really feels heavier…


  5. oldegg says:

    Much like the leopard that cannot change his spots and other tales humans have categorized both the human and animal world but been very slow to learn the lessons in the stories. Perhaps it needs another thousand years or more to judge a person by their qualities but don’t count on it.


  6. Lowe says:

    “In one, he is hero. Bringing fire to the People,
    that they might find warmth beneath their fur
    robes and quilts in freezing winter, but his feathers
    burned in that flight.”

    A perfect illustration of life and its many difficult situations. Help everyone, get burned.


  7. Jae Rose says:

    Perhaps windows – in all forms help to alleviate some of that internal darkness… weighs heavier than light…i had not heard that phrase/myth before..thank you for illuminating it – and wishing you brightness and peacefulness in your new home


  8. The first stanza read like a personal ad to me, and of course it made me want to know the writer of the ad. 😉 I’m so glad you have windows in your new home. There is so much change in life, eh? Now that I am closer to you, perhaps we’ll meet. I think you are only a day away!


  9. Mary says:

    This is a wonderfully dense poem, Elizabeth. Makes we think that perhaps we all have the ‘hero’ and the ‘fool’ within us & elements of blackness, whatever their meanings, are part of each person’s essence. Enjoy the beautiful views just outside your windows!


  10. Sanaa Rizvi says:

    This is such a powerful poem! I have always thought of the crow as an omen depicting the arrival of something which is along its way.. may the windows of our life always shine bright with light.. and eradicate the darkness and pain.


  11. kimorlisa says:

    A very powerful poem.


  12. Misky says:

    A tantalising concept, that there’s a crow in ones soul with dual personalities. Nicely done.


  13. Vinay Leo R. says:

    Quite an interesting piece. I too, like Sanaa, have imagined the crow’s caw as the one letting me know of a guest’s arrival. 🙂 This was quite different.

    Leo @ I Rhyme Without Reason.


  14. I love your visiting crow and the stories he is trying to tell you. Your big windows sound wonderful, I so need big windows and light. I very much enjoyed this poem, the two sides of the crow story…..I think we humans tend to pluck away our beautiful rainbow colours too. I think we have trouble believing we are beautiful and feel more comfortable in dark coloured feathers……..our mission? to learn to shine radiantly, in splendid colours, with out feeling like a sham. LOL. I didnt manage that so well this lifetime. But I’m learning.


  15. I dreamed of something similar.. and the fact that i’m always suspicious of happiness and when things seem to go right.


  16. C.C. says:

    I love your mingling of the myths here… creative and done so well.


  17. The crow is a powerful symbol to nest in your soul.. I always find both a menacing and a courageous side.. and I think that comes through in this powerful poem


  18. Cathy says:

    Wonderful read. Enjoy the crows. They are either saint or sinners in my book.


  19. I love this poem on so many levels…many messages can be found here in these wise words and tales….I love the visitors in my garden especially the feathered ones.


  20. There seems to be a yin and yang perspective to the crow. Sometimes it can be difficult to know which one is in action. Great poem.


  21. susan says:

    Your note is as poetic as your poem. I can just imagine a mother crow telling fledglings how black is beautiful and no one need be perfect.


  22. Snakypoet (Rosemary Nissen-Wade) says:

    I love crows! You have blended the myths well.


  23. veronicabalfourpaul says:

    I knew neither of those myths (I know, not a very good education, but always learning), but love how you have woven them. I like how the crow entered and lives in your heart, divided between selfless and selfish.


  24. glmeisner says:

    I like the way you’ve pressed choice between the myths, as if they must be one or the other. It feels very much like the idea of the culture wars.


  25. annell4 says:

    Dear one, so glad to hear you are moved, and have a place for viewing the world. Interesting….I somehow got these words, and prepared the poem…then I went to Sunday’s whirligig, and the words were different? I enjoyd what you did with the Black all Over.


  26. Victoria says:

    For me, this “tastes” of Native American lore where the crow totem holds such importance. I like how you used the myths to teach. Nice.


  27. I like it. I like that you have a crow attempting to tell you stories – listen. I always do, those crows know wisdom. : )


  28. Good antithesis for “acceptance”. Well done!


  29. tmhHoover says:

    You are still writing! I have been away for so long. It is such a comfort come back. May your new home become you in time. I love your crow – it reminds me of myself. Teri


  30. magicalmysticalteacher says:

    Is there a crow in each of us? Most probably. And you have described him or her well…

    Whirling with Marge


  31. Mama Zen says:

    Nicely done!


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