the season of crows

Maybe it’s a little early in fall for this poem. I don’t find myself in this mood much until after Dia De Los Muertos. The days are still warm, no need for heat at night. But at least last night we had a heavy fog.

This piece has never been on Metaphor before, and if the time isn’t right maybe the poem will hasten it on.



Now in the dying of the year
in the season of crows
the blue of everything in my life
deepens, turns to the steel
of an old knife.

I throw a shadow, blue as a bruise,
which rises and gathers against the ceiling.
On my stove the flames of gas
are almost black.

I start to write to you
but the paper darkens
until my blue words disappear.

The moon which shaved its silver
on my bed in spring
hangs as an indiscernible grape.

Venus weeps over the shoulder
of the moon, to see me
writing poems in blood.

Crows appear in my writing pretty often; among the non-humans around me, they’re second only to dogs. It’s funny because we don’t have a lot of crows here. Just small flocks and individuals cawing from pine and eucalyptus trees. When they stand and caw alone, they have a certain restlessness; they seem to be saying that something is wrong.

I spent a lot of autumn days in the San Joaquin Valley, when I was younger. I remember great flocks, legions of crows.

Here’s another poem in which I pondered these birds.

Click the image of Van Gogh’s Wheat Field with Crows to enlarge it. To see it even bigger, click here.

To view/download the PDF version of Darkening, click here

Creative Commons License
Darkening by J. Kyle Kimberlin
is licensed under a Creative Commons
3.0 United States License

3 thoughts on “the season of crows

  1. Thanks, Joseph and Billie, for your comments! I saw a program about Van Gogh on TV recently. Experts now think he suffered from a form of epilepsy. If he were living today, and had insurance, it would be treatable. Of course, then we might not have the paintings.

  2. Love this – crows are my good luck omens and we have dozens here on November Hill. :)My favorite line is:I throw a shadow, blue as a bruiseIt reminds me of Isak Dinesen – mostly because it has action and visual imagery paired in a way that the power of both just hangs in the air of my mind's eye. Love love love it.

  3. "I blame the moon for making things obvious."Love that line and just might have to make it an epigraph for a new poem this autumn. That poem is so sad, melancholy, but in an uplifting way. 2004, October. That was for me a time a woman was no longer to be at my side, a very special woman.This new poem is quite "darkening" for you, my friend. But is has an austere and unflinching hand: grapes, gas, black, steel, blood.Signs and omens of a seasonal kind. Just saw a program on Saturday night, forget what channel, about the intelligence of crows, their language, their cognitive habits. Amazing. I never knew to what extent they have been studied, tracked, and observed. Such a rich texture to their lives most likely few, if any, poets have ever written about. We tend toward the obvious, some layers down, perhaps, but it is a worn pathway we settle above as so many crows, myself included.Which is why we gaze and cock our heads, try to sense what else the glass marble might be revealing and we keep missing.I stood before that painting in Amsterdam. If you care to read about that singular experience, it is part of a photo-essay triptych I wrote in early 2005 that begins here:1

Comments are closed.