Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Crow Story

This I swear is a true story of a tree near the condo we rented in Lake Grove, a wooded area of Lake Oswego in the greater Portland area. Lake Oswego is an upscale community focused on the lake, a largely manmade and man controlled body of water that can be totally drained for maintenance and is volume controlled in all but the worst drought years. There are mansions on the lakefront.

Lake Grove is a little lower in the scale in many neighborhoods. My wife and I moved there when we returned to Portland from Newport on the Oregon Coast, moved into the condominium. It was there that I sat and used my electric typewriter to write my way into my BA degree, sat at the dining table.

There were tall evergreens everywhere in and around our condominium complex. One of them on this particular day in late spring collected a huge number of crows, literally hundreds at least, with many coming and going. I have never seen anything like it, have no idea what it was about, but it made me a little nervous to have those crows so near, so many. They were definitely noisy. I don’t know when they left or where they went when they did leave, but they were no longer there the next day.

We liked living in Lake Grove so much that we put earnest money down on the condo when the landlord decided to sell it. Then we found the house in Willamette that had everything we had listed on our wish list, a fireplace, an attic, two baths, a garage, a small but landscaped yard with not much grass, a master bedroom big enough for the king sized water bed, a deck and a covered patio, and a study off the kitchen, away from the main part of the house. So we bought it and gave up the earnest money.

A Crow Story

A murder of crows
appeared one day in a tree
across the back street
and down below from
my balcony where I watched
in true awe as they
came and left, and came,
a circulation of crows,
convention of crows,
an entire city
of shiny black beaks, yellow
eyes and discussion.

I felt they were there
to judge me, to speak of things
I mustn't ever

April 27, 2009 7:58 PM


  1. Funny, Christopher, just moments ago I was listening to this :

    (hope that works as a link)

    I am sure you have always been kind to the crows... and that they don't judge you too harshly ;)

    Love to you...

  2. I heard a crow calling and figured it was coming from here.

    Just last night I installed this new image into a web header. Blackbirds, not crows, but they definitely got my attention. They probably know your visitors.

  3. "to speak of things
    I mustn't ever

    so beautiful... both the memory and the poem... i'm always amazed by the way your real life experiences are change into your poems... an alchemical process indeed!

    crows accept people the way they are... and always love to share with them the things they have found...
    i say this not because i'm a crow... but just because they are really so... they adapt much more readily than other creatures...


    our own self judges us very harshly, no?

  4. A crow once dropped out of the sky in our back yard one morning as we were at breakfast. We went out and found it dead, stone dead on the ground. My husband decided it must have been heart failure or old age. We buried it in the ground near to our pond. we buried it with dignity befitting an old man crow. I think of him (of course it had to be a him) often.

    Thanks for this inspirational poem, Christopher.

  5. Miz L., thanks for that. Crows are wise but appear to have their own agenda, but I knew that.


    f/zero, funny how these things gather in nodes. I recommend the story above on NPR that signals they know us better than we know them - and they carry grudges.

    human being, how nice to hear from you. People are sometimes given words and wisdom from crows. These crows from my past did not seem that interested in me except perhaps to put me in my place. I know that I worried about their presence as if they were a prophecy of some kind, but not for me to know.

    Elisabeth, an honor, a solemn responsibility handed your family from the sky. Things like that lead to the divinization of the world. Old man crow? Why not crow as crone? I hear the song from this early morning rising.

  6. *smile*

    I take issue with all things swarm...people included. Always they make my neurons jitter, imperceivably at first and growing into a pressure to escape. One crow, maybe two...three friends at most in one place.

  7. Guess I won't see you at the next Hot Tuna concert.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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