Visiting Authors

Welcome to the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour! #RRBC #RWISA

BLACK NOTES BEAT

By Mary Adler

I have studied and observed crows for years, and the more I’ve learned about them, the more I admire their complex family and flock relationships. They are intelligent, create and use tools, and they teach their skills to other crows. As Rev. Henry Ward Beecher said, “If men had wings and bore black feathers, few of them would be clever enough to be crows.”

Over the years, I have told my family and friends more than they ever wanted to know about crows. One person said, after hearing the stories I told about them, that she stopped trying to run crows down with her car. (There is so much wrong with that statement, that I don’t know where to begin.)

During the non-nesting period of the year, crows gather at night to roost together, sometimes in flocks of thousands. They are stealthy and take a roundabout way to the roosting place. They have good reason to be wary. For decades, humans have killed them, even dynamiting their roosting places at night.

Like many natural creatures, they are good and bad, depending on your viewpoint, and not everyone appreciates their beauty. But I love to watch them streaming across the sky–one small group after another–as they return from foraging to join the flock. When they are together, those who have found a safe source of food will tell the others where it is. They share, but only within their own flock.

One evening, after watching them move across the sky, I wrote this:

 

Black Notes Beat

Black notes beat

Unfurling dusk

     Across the bruising sky.

Quarter notes, half notes

Rise and fall.

Whole notes

       Rest on treetops.

An arpeggio of eighth notes

       Silently swirls,

Scribing a nocturne

     in the fading light.

Softly they spill

       to the nighttime roost:

Rustling,

       murmuring,

              settling,

                     hushed.

Now the still moment,

the last note fading,

No bows, no curtsies,

           No fear of reviews.

They need no applause to perform their works.

*****

Thank you for supporting me along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today!  I invite you to visit my Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of my writing.

You may also check out my books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs.  Thanks, again, for your support.  I hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about me.

Mary Adler RWISA Author Page

10 thoughts on “Welcome to the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour! #RRBC #RWISA”

  1. Robbie Cheadle says:

    A most interesting poem, Mary, and I enjoyed the background to it too

    1. Mary Adler says:

      Thank you, Robbie. Crows have many rules. If you see crows on the ground, look around and you will find a “watch” crow in a high place who is on guard. I have read that failure to alert the flock to danger results in the watch crow being punished. Banishment is almost a death sentence because other flocks will not accept a strange crow.

  2. Gwen Plano says:

    This is a fascinating post, Mary. I knew nothing about crows and now I want to know more. I love your beautiful poem. The ending, “the last note fading…”, brings me into silence. ♥

    1. Mary Adler says:

      Thank you for stopping by — even while traveling. You are most assuredly one of the most supportive people I know and I appreciate your constancy and kindness.

      1. Gwen Plano says:

        My goodness, thank you so much.

        1. Mary Adler says:

          You’re welcome, Gwen,

  3. Jan Sikes says:

    Mary, I loved your insight into the Crows’ behavior and then the way you translated it into the poem is pure art! I’d venture to say that the Crow is one of your Totem Animals!

    1. Mary Adler says:

      I think you might be right, Jan, about the crow being one of my Totem Animals. I feel a great kinship with them. Thank you for your kind words about the poem. You are a generous-hearted woman. 🙂

  4. Karen Ingalls says:

    I loved this post, Mary and I learned a lot about crows. Thank you.

    1. Mary Adler says:

      Thank you, Karen. You might be able to sympathize with my friends who all know more about crows than they ever wanted to know. They suffer from my enthusiasm for bees and dogs, too! 😉

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