by Thomas Davis
A Spenserian Sonnet
Hunched down beside a woodpile, ebony,
In shadows from the cedars overhead,
The raven blinked black eyes, its dishabille
Of feathers rustling, stirring up a dread
So dark it seemed as if it called up from the dead
White wisps of spirits buried in the snow.
The raven hopped on top the woodpile, head
Cocked, moving like a dancer in a show,
A shadows’ shadow pantomiming woe.
Dawn’s darkness deepened as the raven leaped
Into the sky and hovered as the glow
Of blood-light saturated earth and seeped
Into the raven’s eyes, it’s dance undone
Until its beak croaked out the blazing sun.
He sank into the raven’s eyes.
Their surface sheen reflected snow
Back at the whiteness of the skies.
A concave warp of vertigo
Unshrouded mice in tunnels cached
From clawing eyes that beaked black wings
Above the scurrying that snatched
Blood past the raven’s ravenings.
Inside his heart black feathers stirred
Into his hands, his human life.
A crucible croaked from the bird,
Its blood inside his blood a knife
That tunneled black rimmed raven eyes
Into a cedar block that pulsed with wings
And raucous swells of clawing cries
That made the forest’s stillness sing.
He shrugged his spirit from the bird
And left it listening to snow.
He walked through darkness, undeterred
By failing light, the silver glow
Of moonlight through the limbs of trees.
Outside the house he stopped and stared
At birds he’d carved into the eaves.
In rooms, on fence posts wings were flared
As birdsong choired cacophony
Into the silence of the night.
The house moved, spirit-fantasy
Of birds eternally in flight.
Note: This poet is a companion to “Encounter with a Gray Morph Owl.” The idea came from an essay by Norbert Blei in “Door Way, the People in the Landscape.”
by Ethel Mortenson Davis
Raven is a kicker.
He loves to have fun—
nose dives in the sky,
rides the sixty mile an hour winds,
sliding over the Santa Fe railroad
coming from California
and over highway 40
as the semis roll by.
Raven loves to make someone his joke—
sneaks up on his buddies
and scares them to death.
Smart old cuss too.
I saw him flying
with a pop can in his beak,
heading west toward Gallup.
He’ll do well.
They pay seventy cents a pound.
This photo was taken on November 15, 2009 by Alazanto, Kevin Davis, our son.