Twa Corbies

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Twa Corbies

Two crows diverged
in a yellow wood
whose flights were tracked
by crow the third
who watched the horse
that lay quite still.

The first two crows
brought back their brothers
but that third crow
had got the eyes
first one then two
from the head of the horse
that lay so still.

I’ll sing you how
the gang of crows
descend on the horse
in ones and twos
and make such a noise
they scare off the flies
who’d come to feast
on the horse so still.

And I recall
as the leaves fall down
on this road in the wood
under branches bare
it’s one for sorrow
two for mirth
then nine for hell
as I rode the earth
on a horse whose bones lay still.

(After Robert Frost, of course, and also referencing the Scots language ballad, Twa Corbies, which in turn is based on The Three Ravens I tried for a few days to find crows to photograph, to illustrate this poem, but they are hiding from the sour weather, and while I hear them calling in the woods, I can’t see a single crow.)

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