High on a subliminal moorland, a figure hides in
The folds of my sleep. A self-evident soul, no more
Or less than he needs to be, without subterfuge,
Neither camouflage nor disguise, with no need to lie
When a corvid mind cannot be forged or fathomed.
Huddled into the spine of my nights, his cloak made
My neuro processors benign, he’s hunched in his feathery
Tope from the far autumn rain, aspiring to be crow-like.
So much more than alone, a deeper motif runs through
The contagions of his life, roams through my dormant mind.
We are inextricably linked, we breathe with a bifurcated lung
Thrust up from the frost-thawed dung and peat
Into the midriff of man-made exile and oblivion amid
Heather-groans and wraiths of bracken-binding weed.
There, the buffeted curlew knows the signs of stones
Which make his muir-maid’s cairn,
In the leeward cleft of a croft he surfaces, his feathers wet,
His crooked nose bent, face ever turned away from the eyes
Of men, the croft dislodged in time and earth,
Like a rotten tooth in mossy gums,
Waiting through epochs for its inculcation,
Or a byre perhaps, long shorn of forsaken herds
Cowering from a summer storm – I cannot tell
Whether this enclosure has history, myths or form,
Only that its crow-king’s composed
As he believes a crow would approach
Its own anthropomorphisation,
Its own way of knowing what it is to be mortal.
In the mountains beyond where I have not walked
There are the mouths of merlins and growse.
His costume bedezined with drizzle, he opens
A cage where he nurtured three juvenile crows,
In that strange drove. They hopped between
The runs of chicken-wire
Into the blue newness of hope.