KORAKO (CROW)

(This blogetry was in a book I wrote in 2014. Adding it to WP although I was so sure it once was posted.  Not my best, just an emotional rant  😦  but I like to keep an online “diary” of my work.)

 

We Romani in both ancestral tribes
Kalderash and Sinti
Believe Korako (crow)
Is exceptionally wise and intelligent
Living 30 years
Bringing us signs that we must obey:
One korako is sorrow
Two korakos are joy
Korako in the road is a happy journey
Korako dead in the the road, turn around!

I cheered for the Raven in Poe’s poem
My life improved when a friend sent me
a 10-inch raven’s feather
Fluttering around New Mexican rocks
I love the swaggering tricksters
Their intense eye contact
The caw-caw-caw on the wind

What I did not know
(Because, unlike my Gran
Did not live on the road
Lived in the concrete forest
Missed a lot in my cultural education)
So what I did not know
Is the true meaning of the flock word
A “murder” of crows

Since age three, my first memory
Has been of birds
My aging pleasure is to sit in the yard
Sipping burning black coffee
While cardinals and finches
Woodpeckers and jays
Twitter away at the feeder
Sometimes korako will come
When the smaller birds are sated
And clean out the remaining seeds

A few weeks ago
I saw a crow
Sitting on the swamp’s dead oak
Korako caw-caw-cawed and four more
Joined the dark herald

Such a nervous clatter
As red and brown cardinals
Fluttered around, attacking them
When the sixth korako appeared
Dive bombing the mated couples
The other five flew into
The surrounding trees
Routing the rowdy teens
And finding the fledglings
No! Baby birds in merciless beaks!

Shocked. Electrified. Stunned.
A massacre with no warning
Stormtroopers raiding the homes
Ridding the homes of a new generation
We all know that birdsong
Is not always a carefree tune
But why now?
Summer is a time of abundance

Next day used the metal trash can lid
And a large branch
Percussion to drive away the returning five korakos
Persecution in the backyard not welcome
Decimation of propagation!

The dogs barked, korakos took heed and flew
To the next set of trees on another street
I thought of those little birds with guilt
But glad! Glad my birds were spared!

How do I welcome korako into my life now?
Is there a way to overlook the violence?
The Survival of the Fittest truism?
The meek not inheriting the earth?
The might makes right credo?
How can I ever look at korako with fondness again?

Perhaps it would be similar to those people,
Those soul-murderers, self-esteem scythers
Whom I have sometimes let back into my life
Remaining alert via an underlying lack of trust
Korako…Mardari…Murderer…

(c) 2014 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
Poetry of Memory: Six Decades from the Space-Time Continuum
IMAGE: Crow Amulet

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