Monday, April 27, 2015

Call Of The Crow

Call of the Crow

The crow called,
what world is coming?
A world with no ease in the seeing

where the last battle
finds no ending, a capture of dead without any king;
where no sending of ravens
can swallow the feast.

The crow called,
what world do I see
where summer kills flowers
where kine have no milk
and die eating dust,

where women
no longer know their worth,
where old men bring false judgment.
where each child
is a reaver, each soul
a betrayer of brothers,
a killer deceiver, blinding his own eyes;
where the sea can feed no one
not even herself,
where poison is flowing
deep in the well.

I see it all,
called the crow
nothing dear 
will be left to me.

~April 2015

Poem 27 for April--unlinked, and a total self-indulgence.

Process notes: This poem is drawn directly from a 9th century(?) prophecy(below) I happened on that reminded me very strongly of the description of the final days before the Ragnarök in Völuspá. Bleak as these prophecies are, I also see them as vital warnings, informing us so perhaps their dire ends can somehow be averted, foretelling as they do elements of a personal disintegration which leads to the more universal one.

This prophecy is Celtic, and spoken by the goddess Babd, the war goddess aspect of The Morrigan, who often takes the form of a crow:

I  shall not see a world that will be dear to me.
Summer without flowers,
Kine will be without milk,
Women without modesty,
Men without valour,
Captures without a king.

... ... ...

Woods without mast,
Sea without produce,

... ... ...

Wrong judgments of old men,
False precedents of brehons,
Every man a betrayer,
Every boy a reaver.
Son will enter his father's bed,
Father will enter his son's bed,
Everyone will be his brother's brother-in-law.

... ... ...

An evil time!
Son will deceive his father,

Daughter will deceive her mother.

prophecy of the goddess Badb,  from "The Second Battle of Mag Tuired"


Image: Crow in flight at Isfahan, Iran, 2012, shared under a creative commons license
via wikimedia commons     Manipulated.


  1. Hey Hedge (I can't call you by your real name right after reading this poem, though it's a wonderful one.) Agh. I think a bit of Ted Hughes' Crow though not so familiar with those, but it is a great image here with so many layers--one thinks of the crow calling as not just cawing, but actually phoning--this blackness contacting us--and eating crow--and there is something ominous about even a crow calling/cawing out a warning. Also, the word play on the poison in the well is very strong, the image of the ocean, and of course, the child as reaver (which I discover is raider, I guess) but such a good word-- kine also is so great here as it has so much resonance to our kind as well as its actual meaning, and even to kindness. Anyway, a lot going on, but with beautiful bell like rhymes and rhythms. Thanks (despite the grim feeling left in my chest.) K.

    1. Thanks, k. This is all fairly obvious stuff--I just found it was what was easy to write today, so I did.I make no claims to any Hughesan depths.

  2. I wonder if Ted Hughes took inspiration from the same prophecy?

    1. "So man cried, but with God's voice.
      And God bled, but with man's blood." ??
      Hard to tell what Hughes took inspiration from--I certainly think he often found the bleakness the prophecy describes.

  3. This is disturbing and heartbreaking, in no small part because it rings so true in this age of oil spills, global warming (and global warming denying), terror, war, and short-sighted greed. The crow is my totem animal, and so I would expect nothing less than the unvarnished truth from him.

  4. "where no sending of ravens/can swallow the feast." The mental picture this brought to mind reminded me of those terrible bits we see in the news today... I bet the Morrigan sings her song over them, too. ;-(

  5. well, the long days are done. I'm not enjoying NYC - in the East Village for a couple days. damn, things are expensive here. I find pigeons, not birds, as harbinger of fate. visited the 9/11 memorial - moving, and wondering at the wonder of the new tower, 104 stories up, cops everywhere with hands on guns, meanwhile, the terrible grandeur and grandiosity it took to build, and to destroy, and to build again. Ragnarok is a cycle, another version of the phoenix, in a way, or the Hindu circle of reincarnation - and probably Ecclesiastes. Babd's prophecy
    sounds mighty Oedipal, too. Anyways - men without valour abound. I'm near Wall street ~

    1. I can't think of any goddess who took the form of a pigeon, except some post-modern version of Medea or something--I have compassion for anyone not a New Yorker who must deal with that separate planet of the US.A true example of the cycle of ragnarok you cite--so avoidable, if we could just learn not to hate, not to make people hate. Laughing at the Wall Street crack.

  6. As I started to read this I remembered a dream last night of being in a list of Saxons getting ready to face off against a Viking raid -- the second battle, harrowed by memories of the hacking of the first ... Odd huh ... I got the Ragnarocknroll vibe here immediately, the Morrigan's crow seeing what her red thirst longs for: there's almost a sensual pleasure in the desire for awfulness, for the hosts to engage, the feasting of death to begin: Is it that our doom hovers that close, or at least that its shadow looms over everything we see? Who is not infected, who is not part of that wave so imminently and eminently about to collapse? Harrumm, harrumm.

    1. Very odd. i am not as up on my Celtic mythology, but this was a(second) battle of invaded/invaders, I believe. This prophecy seems to kick it up a notch from the Voluspa one though--there is a sorrow more than an I told you so feel, I think. Thanks for reading B--sorry to be so behind.


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats

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