Richard St. Clair

(1946 / Jamestown, North Dakota)

Villanelle: Blackbird


The freakish cawing from the blackbird’s bill,
In autumn after other birds had fled,
Impaled the air and signaled winter’s chill.

I stood and listened, savoring the thrill
And wondered why the superstitious dread
The freakish cawing from the blackbird’s bill.

Perhaps they’d better reckoned why the shrill,
Outspoken, charcoal guardian of the dead
Impaled the air and signaled winter’s chill.

A witness of the seasons, it could fill
A tome or tomb with woe: I heard, instead,
The freakish cawing from the blackbird’s bill.

The raven’s kin, it played the brazen shill
And, morbid incantations having plead,
Impaled the air and signaled winter’s chill.

But as I yearn to hear the robin’s trill,
I think of when, now comforted in bed,
The freakish cawing from the blackbird’s bill
Impaled the air and signaled winter’s chill.

Submitted: Sunday, March 21, 2010
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