Monday, January 22, 2018

"A Murder of Crows" by Aparna Sanyal, Frequent Contributor & Poet of the Week

Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to formally introduce to the readership another new Frequent Contributor, Aparna Sanyal, who will be featured as our Poet of the Week this week.  Her biography may be found on the “Our Staff” page.

Aparna Sanyal

A murder of crows dominates 
this neighbourhood. 
They sit on blue tarp clad trucks,
green tarp clad hutments, 
yellow crane necks and the red trucks 
carry away disobedient two-wheelers 
with rusty metal clamps. 
They are gurus, these crows; they pick colour out of grime. 
Tilt funnel beaks back to 
long skeins into their souls. 
Black is an outside affectation. 
They stare up at helicopters in 
then head to the tin roof of the 
slaughterhouse for mid-day refreshment 
and quick gossip.  
There, picking apart threads 
of muscle, from gristle and bone,
they speak in caws of cabbages
and kings. 
A Phoenix song is mere prĂ©cis 
when compared 
to the wraith-and-paper sandwich histories that unspool 
from these claw beaks, these innards, ancient 
with the muck of entire clans.
They carry away spit-shined nails
and copper coins, wire ends 
and two-bit bobs
from a mat of oil-cloth on the 
Do they hear the splenetic cries 
of the scrap seller as they speed away,
oiled jet streaks in a soot sky?
No, this murder of crows 
has much to do. 
Ineluctable coups and deadly revolution; 
they plot, plan,
sieve machinations from 
feathers and bone dust.
This murder of crows does not know
that below it, 
we plot too. 

Poet’s Notes:  Driving through the outskirts of overcrowded, smog-laden Mumbai, I glimpsed three homeless people sleeping on the hood of a broken, rusted car left to rot on the side of the street. Next to them was a construction site, where a huge murder of crows sat on a crane, watching, intermittently cawing, and seemingly contemplating the slumbering humans. Around these people and crows, the world moved on, in clueless, ceaseless chaos. There was a strange shattered beauty in this scene of almost post-apocalyptic ruin. This poem just wrote itself thereafter.

Editor’s Note:  I enjoy the imagery and macabre narrative in this poem about our corvine friends and appreciate the poetic glimpse into the crushing poverty that plagues not only India but, appallingly, parts of the United States as well. 

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