Rimbaud revisitation

Rimbaud revisitation

The suburbs arrayed
       amid cold meadows
no bell sounding
       prayer long fallen silent

Here the air resounds
       to the caw of crows
whole armies of them
       that come swooping down
dressed for battle
       the black metallic sheen
of their feathers
       contemptuous of the light
their rapier beaks
       sharpened for business
no solace in their haughty bearing
       that sets them apart
from the smaller birds :
       nature too has its favourites

Along the roads
       and down by the little stream
they congregate in twos and threes
       in fours and fives
but do not dally showing disdain
       for Calvary’s winding lanes

Those who see them
       shudder at the thought
of life’s tender fragility
       the cold message
so dutifully delivered
       by these harbingers
of all things sepulchral

But o you black birds
       you cry in vain
for the winter
       that now smothers
the barren fields
       will lift soon enough
and the warbler’s voice
       once again will be heard
singing from the tops
       of mighty oaks

John Lyons


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