Crows and ravens both,
they tell us about change.
A famous crow in Vancouver has gone missing;
his mate hops the fence expectantly,
and at the same time, here in the foothills
a young crow in distress
circles our house, calling plaintively.
She has lost something:
a parent or a plan, the usual pattern of things.
For the Druids, these black birds
stand between us and the other world.
For them, the raven is Bran, the healer,
though sometimes we heal into loss.
Sometimes we are missing from the old world,
sloughing it off with illness.
Hope and horror both
have their hands on that gate.
The black juvenile circles me
on my morning walk along the Hogback,
drawing a net around my lack of superstition.
She has something urgent to tell me
in what can be
the static doldrums of late summer,
in the season’s dangerous inactivity:
child-changer, she calls,
child, teacher of the man.