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The raven -


(with respect to Edgar Allan Poe)

Then it was January already

And I see a raven atop its tree.

Very early in the year it’s come

With sparkling life so barely begun.

Here now the king and queen of crows

High in the pine with me far below

Wishing for certain I wasn’t here.

But, for my part, wish he had no fear.

Those centuries of persecution

Have caused this undeserved exclusion

And brought about such calamity

By those with sighted eyes that can’t see

The glory of its magnificence.

Despite all their poison, guns and sense-

lessness they’ve failed in their regicide,

For safe in London’s Tower Rex survives!

Scorning humdrum landscapes, the raven

In its vaulting poise will freely reign

Over tree, mountainside and cliff edge.

Tail fanned full free, they say like a wedge -

But not really, much more arcuate

For the soar and swoop of mate on mate.

It reminds us, wherever it be,

Of primeval pre-man history.

You prehistoric fantastic beast!

Remembered from where we used to meet

In limeston’d quarry when I was young,

Where once I stopped a kid with a gun

Even though myself scarcely older.

Passion made me angry, nay bolder.

And becoming a man from fey youth

Surprised even myself by such proof.

* * *

The raven’s rasping corronking call

Gives notice; fearing nothing at all

Except endless man - arch enemy -

Who darkly shadows his destiny.

Now see the Raven, still beguiling

In its lonely ancient travelling.

This gaunt grim ominous bird of yore.

What is meant in croaking 'Nevermore'?

 Over our Welsh pinewood winter home,

Where the goshawk and red kite have flown,

Came a strange cork-extracting popping.

Not the usual pruk-pruk toc-tocking

Nor the oft heard bubbling and creaking.

This bell-like liquid gong sent me seeking

Off to Heinrich’s ‘Ravens in Winter’;

Myself once more eager researcher.

In his pages I found a treasure -

That this call is of peace and pleasure.

Now in Devon I hear it a lot

Though from childhood remember it not.

Bold comes its cousin, the common crow

(Less bold the jackdaw) to our window

And raps thereon to be fed some more.

But no raven tapping at my door.

Foolhardy to be any bolder:

Keep your distance from human murder;

Groups of crows are so designated

By man to raise fear of the hated.

O, ebony bird, so beguiling

You set my face gratefully smiling.

Stately raven, quoth I, from my door

I would give you shelter…


© R M Meyer

Devon, February 2019