Padraic Colum

(8 December 1881 – 11 January 1972 / County Longford)

Crows - Poem by Padraic Colum

THEN, suddenly, I was aware indeed
Of what he said, and was revolving it:
How, in the night, crows often take to wing,
Rising from off the tree-tops in Drumbarr,
And flying on: I pictured what he told.

The crows that shake the night-damp off their wings
Upon the stones out yonder in the fields,
The first live things that we see in the mornings;
The crows that march across the fields, that sit
Upon the ash-trees' branches, that fly home
And crowd the elm-tops over in Drumbarr;
The crows we look on at all hours of light,
Growing, and full, and going these black beings have
Another lifetime!

Crows flying in the dark
Blackness in darkness flying; beings unseen
Except by eyes that are like to their own
Trespassers' eyes!

And you, old man, with eyes so quick and sharp,
Who've told me of the crows, my fosterer;
And you, old woman, upon whose lap I've lain
When I was taken from my mother's lap;
And you, young girl, with looks that have come down
From forefathers, my kin ye have another life
I've glimpsed it, I becoming trespasser-
Blackness in darkness flying like the crows!


Comments about Crows by Padraic Colum

  • Susan Williams (9/15/2017 5:59:00 PM)


    The crows that shake the night-damp off their wings
    Upon the stones out yonder in the fields,
    The first live things that we see in the mornings;
    The crows that march across the fields, that sit
    Upon the ash-trees' branches, that fly home
    And crowd the elm-tops over in Drumbarr;
    The crows we look on at all hours of light,
    Growing, and full, and going these black beings have
    Another lifetime! - - - - - - - this entire poem is full of luscious images and a meaningfulness that lies in the lines so darkly glimmering
    (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
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  • Soumya Ranjan Rout (9/15/2017 2:12:00 PM)


    Blackness in darkness flying like the crows!
    Nice poem.
    (Report) Reply

  • (9/15/2017 1:18:00 PM)


    'that shake the night damp off their wings'

    This is a great poem that tenderly transitions from crows back to the speaker. So much great poetry from Ireland- the land where poetry itself sits enthroned. MM
    (Report) Reply

  • Lantz Pierre (9/15/2017 7:10:00 AM)


    Crows are always a good topic for a poem. And a great metaphorical vehicle. (If I do say so myself.) First read through I was originally put off by the opening stanza. Why the slow start? The oblique winging in to the substance? I want direct observation of the crows, not hearsay from another. And the litany of observation in the second stanza is spot on. Concrete. Indisputable. And for all that, pedestrian. I mean no poetic explosion into the realm of glittering brilliance. That comes in the third stanza, fortunately. Mystification. A crow in the night (like a polar bear in a snow storm) , not what's there - there - but what's in the mind behind the eyes. The transformative metaphor. So the fourth stanza returns to the human realm and relates the metaphor learned from the birds there. The observer, the nurturer, and then who? Sibling? More likely paramour, I think. He sees, shares with her, a secret in the dark. A trespass. How titillating. Under cover in the secret of the night. (Report) Reply

  • Kumarmani Mahakul (9/15/2017 6:53:00 AM)


    An interesting write on crows. Congratulations to his soul. (Report) Reply

  • Subhas Chandra Chakra (9/15/2017 3:40:00 AM)


    Congratulations for being chosen.Thanks for the sharing of the poem. (Report) Reply

  • Subhas Chandra Chakra (9/15/2017 3:38:00 AM)


    Crows flying in the dark
    Blackness in darkness flying; beings unseen
    Except by eyes that are like to their own
    Trespassers' eyes! .... beautiful lines. Enjoyed the poem very much. Thanks for the sharing of the poem.10+++
    (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (9/15/2017 3:11:00 AM)


    Indeed! ! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (9/15/2017 1:19:00 AM)


    Such a great poem worthy of being chosen.... (Report) Reply

  • Geeta Radhakrishna Menon (9/15/2017 1:08:00 AM)


    Crows flying in the dark
    Blackness in darkness flying; beings unseen
    Except by eyes that are like to their own
    Trespassers' eyes!

    A rare poem on crows. Interesting
    (Report) Reply

  • Robert Murray Smith (9/15/2017 12:36:00 AM)


    Padraic has opened his eyes to the crows. Really, how original is that. Black winged squarkers like this poem. (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, April 20, 2010



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