Celtic Crow

One eye glances askance,
glittering jet lustre.

Is Morrighan watching?
Will she visit you?

Wings open like a broken umbrella,
a sheen of funereal feathers.

Is it alone or are there three
to strike fear in the hearts of the enemy?

Talons scratch a morbid beat
to the castanet clacking of its beak.

Sacred sister of the phantom queen:
the maiden, the mother or the crone?

If, by chance, you should kill a crow,
bury it and wear black when you do so.

Kim M. Russell, 2017

crows

My response to Imaginary Garden with Real Toads Fireblossom Friday: Corvid and sit a while and linked to dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night 

Fireblossom says that the crow is her totem animal and she adores them, that even if you don’t like crows, they make wonderful fodder for writing. She says that crows are often used in literature and films to convey a sense of foreboding or death but they are extremely intelligent birds. They can figure out complex tasks–like using a stick to help them retrieve a piece of food–and they can distinguish individual human faces so that they know who is a friend and who to avoid. If you feed crows, they will sometimes bring trinkets and shiny objects to leave as gifts for you. 

Today we are writing new poems about crows or from the point of view of a crow, or using them as metaphors.

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50 thoughts on “Celtic Crow

  1. This is soo beautifully haunting, Kim! ❤️ especially drawn by those stellar closing lines; “If, by chance, you should kill a crow, bury it and wear black when you do so.” Kudos!❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh! as little as I know of Celtic mythology, you hit a lot of cylinders in your poem~! I have read somewhere that Morrigan IS the crow. She can shapeshift to any animal she wants to use. And the three who go into battle…I can’t remember their names but they are Morrigan’s sisters I believe. They are a lot like the Valkyrie to me. LOL! “Castanets and clacks”…they do that! I have only had a couple of experiences with the same crow at the Chattachooie Nature Center here. It was caged for a reason., It couldn’t fly right. had been hit by a car. my young son kept trying to open the cage and entice him out…but I caught him most times. lol. That crow was so intelligent. He would push twigs at us through the cage. We would bring snacks for him. he would take them and push more sticks at us. LOL! We haven’t gone back in about 20 years and I am sure Crow was in Crow Heaven by now.

    Wonderful poem, Kim.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jane! You’re right about Morrighan being THE crow and shapeshifting. I’ve never seen a crow in captivity but I know of pet crows that have been raised by humans. They are intelligent and apparently very loyal, even when freed into the wild again.

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    1. Thank you! I’ve been interested in Celtic stories for a long time, having lived in Ireland many years ago, and in my childhood I enjoyed novels by Welsh writers which were full of myths and legends, such as The Owl Service – another favourite bird of mine.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Not very familiar with Celtic lore but I know they thought of ravens/crows as the wisest of animals – and I suppose there is a reason why they have been associated with witches and wizards, not just because they are black. And your snappy short lines mirror that castanet of their beaks…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love these lines:

    “Wings open like a broken umbrella”

    “Talons scratch a morbid beat
    to the castanet clacking of its beak.

    Sacred sister of the phantom queen:
    the maiden, the mother or the crone?”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I saw a video once of a crow using a bottle cap to sled down the snow on a rooftop, then fly back to the top with the cap and do it again. They are quite intelligent, but my dog does not like when a murder of them, or even a single crow, lands in our front yard. They probably wouldn’t leave him any trinkets.

    Liked by 1 person

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