Douglas Malcolm

A Crow in Summer

The crow pecks at ice in the field
on the last day of April. Rat-
a-tat-tat, rat-a-tat-tat – the sound
echoes over the ground and into
the sky. Regular as a metronome,
the crow puts its whole body
into each attack on the ice,
a miniature Noh drummer black
against the morning light and the corduroyed field.

Like me, the crow hates ice
and snow still lingering beside
the road and in the woods and our
hearts. Each sharp strike a blow
against cold and winter=s
skeletal world and ourselves for
we are its creatures, bred of hard-
eyed calculation and sharp
angularity, analysis
and definition. And even if
the crow, with one final blow, cracked
the shell of winter and summer (spring
a season we have only read about in books)
gushed out in full technicolour,
a psychedelic world suddenly crayoned
with love, we would still be visitors.

But as foreigners to summer’s
lushness, knowing always we must return
to a cold country, we lose ourselves
in the flowers that grow from your eyes,
the greened words that spill from your mouth
and the summer warmth of your skin.

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