Saturday, January 17, 2009
crow, side by side, sunshine
The poet Ted Hughes wrote a series of poems called Crow. The eponymous bird does not emerge from the book very favourably. The author sees Crow as sinister, evil, greedy and destructive.
"Crow saw the herded mountains, steaming
in the morning
And he saw the sea
Dark-spined, with the whole earth in its coils.
He saw the stars, fuming away into the black
mushrooms of the nothing forest, clouding
their spores, the virus of God."
Hughes may be right about Crow in particular and crows in general (not a popular bird in folklore or mythology), but he might have noticed as well that there was a comical aspect to them, a sort of pomposity and self-importance.
On a branch of the lime tree, two wood pigeons sit side by side, cosy and companionable.
In the shelter outside the Compasses we sit and allow the midday sun, low over the roof tops, to bathe us in mid-winter warmth.
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People just don't like animals who may be as smart as us. Or smarter in some ways.
Well, some people.
Raven is the trickster.
Crow was the first book of poetry by Hughs that I owned. I hated it at first, but see it's strengths and almost love it now.
It was my first Hughs too. And I too found it heavy going, rather unpleasant and there was nothing in it of the grace with which he had previously treated animals and other birds. I am not sure that I like these poems any more now then I did then.
Most animals are smarter than us in one way or another, I suppose.
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