The first part is about watching a pair of ravens flying over the Grwyne Fawr valley in the Black Mountains; the second is in the voice of the raven who, in North American mythology, created the World; and the third is a bit of one-upmanship between the Norse God Odin’s two ravens, whose names translate as Thought and Memory.
I Grwyne Fawr
I Grwyne Fawr
Sheep have spread their shrunken
woollens on barbed wire fences,
wisps bleached white by winter sun
imitating lichen hung on blackthorn
twigs to dry.
Delighted by pattern
the wind sends a pair of ravens overhead.
It thinks they sound like frogs
but to me it’s clear that they are
deep in conversation
their topic a worsening in the weather,
the move of the livestock market
from Abergavenny to Raglan.
Or so I imagine,
not speaking raven.
Black with repentance? Me?
Everything you see I created –
these hills and rivers, those distant clouds
that might be mountains
I circled the world,
my feathers shed forests
With my beak I mined diamonds
gritted the slippery sky
While you were blindfolded
I shoved the sun up the chimney
giving birth to Day
My dirt-dark laugh
Nights, I spread my wings, my iris
the tireless moon
III Thought and Memory
Once there were gods
and we served them. Now we are
masters of four winds
Feathers and bone, we are the fearless,
stepping on air
There’s more than one darkness.
We are the dark of the shortest day
falling through spring
our wings make sooty marks
across the camber of the sky
In our feathers all things are mingled.
We have four and sixty
changings of the voice.
We love to bark like happy dogs
rolling in cloud
waggling our tails
We’re not the souls of fallen soldiers.
We don’t act as omens,
foretellers of doom
Flapping rags and blackened paper,
we are debris at the edgesof the storm
Thanks to judge, David Morley, and all at Buzzwords.
(There is a raven in the above photo, honest, it's soaring, wings outstretched, over the Dart gorge.)