Not a Poem of Crows

by Ken Ashworth
The Waters
First Place, February 2019
Judged by Ruth Bavetta


Grandma kept a crow named Herkimer,
claimed it told her things. It brought her
bits of mirrored glass, brass buttons
and once, a three dollar gold piece.

But I will not write a poem about crows,
not the four and twenty in a pie,
not the ones of Van Gogh who pecked
the face of sunflowers.

Not even the ones years ago in Charleston
who overtook the Pecan trees
before daylight when our bodies still fit
like origami on your pale Victorian divan.

The ones round here now are arrogant
they stretch on the phone wire,
steal snatches of conversation,
translate them into crow speak.

On my gate, a pair of tail feathers,
a warning: Leave this place while
you still can. This is no life, to
stay and not be written about.


"Not a poem of crows," the title boldly proclaims and just as boldly pushes us into the first stanza where it becomes obvious the title is a lie. There’s a crow immediately crowding its way in. We’re told again, no crows allowed, only to run into another and another, indeed what seems to be the beginning of an almost encyclopedic listing of crows from the speaker’s life, from past to present. Just when we think that’s all it will be, the final stanza exposes the raison d’etre of this most corvine of poems. This is indeed not a poem about crows, but a poem about resolving to leave a bad situation. --Ruth Bavetta

  • November 2019 Winners

    • First Place

      Rapture
      by JJ Wiliamson
      Babilu

      Second Place (tie)

      Red Spider Lilies
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Writer's Block

      Second Place (tie)

      The Big House At Mambalam
      by Siva Ramanathan
      The Writer's Block

      Third Place (tie)

      What Have I Done to Thee O Muse
      by Peter Halpin
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place (tie)

      World Affairs
      by Kenny A. Chaffin
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Honorable Mention

      Morning
      by Mary MacGowan
      The Waters

      Honorable Mention

      A Can of Grandma Figlioto’s Pasta Sauce
      by Daniel J. Flore III
      Babilu

  • October 2019 Winners

    • First Place

      We Could Use an American
      by Mignon Ariel King
      The Waters

      Second Place

      Dante’s Outer Circles
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Writer's Block

      Third Place

      Time of Move
      by RC James
      Babilu