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.
A MURDER OF CROWS
A murder of crows dominates
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
A Phoenix song is mere précis
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.