Once the poet begins to work with an image in earnest, it begins to show up everywhere— in news articles, in stories, in poems, in trees and on telephone wires, in flight with wings outstretched across a great blue sky. ~ Vernon Fowlkes, Jr
Rainbow Crow Thaws the World
With wings and body charred black
he arrived a rainbow of flame
in his mouth mocking the beauty
he once was home
from the heavens to say this
fire was the new redemption
as written in the scarecrow’s hand
at the altar of the fallen wall.
When his feet touched the earth
the Age of Winter melted in a day
yet the cold-heartedness of man remained.
In the Bible of the Crow
the prophecy is written:
When the Lover speaks
your thawing hearts will weep
into suddenly salty seas.
~ by Vernon Fowlkes, Jr. from the book in progress As the Crow Flies
Several years ago, unbidden, images of crows began to crop up in my poems. Almost imperceptibly at first. Once the poet begins to work with an image in earnest, it begins to show up everywhere— in news articles, in stories, in poems, in trees and on telephone wires, in flight with wings outstretched across a great blue sky. In the process, I learned that, in most cultures, the crow is an omen of good, a messenger from the other world. European Christian culture is an exception for some reason, possibly due to agrarian concerns. There are a number of stories, across cultures, about how the crow came to be black. Common to them is that Crow was once either white (Sioux and Cherokee myth) or multi-colored (the Lenni Lenape tribe as well as Ukrainian myth.) All say Crow was also once a songbird. In the Lenni Lenape story, the world has frozen over and Rainbow Crow is elected to fly to heaven to beseech the Creator for relief. The Creator sends Rainbow Crow back with the gift of fire, which blackens him on the long flight back and destroys his voice. This poem is a riff on that myth. It seems, especially now, we could use Rainbow Crow’s gift of fire, that it might thaw the cold-heartedness that surrounds us and hems us in.
Yes, we can use the gift of Rainbow Crow’s fire to melt us into one. HUGE gratitude to Vernon Fowlkes, Jr. for gifting us with another contribution to “Yes-vember” The Poet’s Way.
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