|Photo by Miri Dunn, used with permission.|
The photo and the phrase really spoke to me and I wrote the poem in response.
One Crow Sorrow; Two Crows, Joy
(for Miri Dunn)
The light slants low across the water.
Shadows stretch the tree trunks long. Soon
darkness will hoard the last spark of bright.
A magpie's feathers flash purple and blue
like a bruise, like dusk, like the tumbling river.
Bare branches burst to life in a call of crows
until the sky cracks open and the sound
falls up. The night is made of beating wings, stars
clever eyes blinking, blinking against the black.
--LJ Cohen, April 2, 2014
Part of the pull of writing poetry for me, is writing in response to another piece of art. It was a long time before I knew there was a word for that: ekphrasis. For many years, I have had the image in my mind of crows roosting in the trees at sunset, but it took seeing this marvelous photograph (it looks like a woodcut!) to craft that image into a poem.
When I showed it to Miri, she linked me to another ekphrastic work: a song, "One for sorrow, two for joy" by indie artist, Christophe Curtis. It is a moody, atmospheric piece, that evokes the sense of crows.
So many ways to express the emotions triggered from a single source of inspiration; in this case an old nursery rhyme, discovered through a photograph.
Happy Poetry Month!