Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Flight Plan

So, yesterday. The crow thing. Goes back a ways, lot of angles. Standing at a kiosk at Tower Records in Cambridge (remember them?) one Saturday afternoon in 1993 sampling one track after another on August and Everything After, each one as good or better than the last. Further back, going out in the fields in Hillsdale at age thirteen with my .22-.410 over-and-under thinking maybe to shoot a crow. As if. First of all, they've got amazing eyesight. They have sentries posted, and they talk to one another. Raise a gun, raise your arm so it looks like it might be a gun, and they're in flight and out of range before you get a bead. Impressive. And curious, too, how they evolved the communal brain thing. Then there's the mythology angle. Familiars. Messengers. Harbingers of doom, croaking in a language no one understands. All those ravens bearing messages back and forth across Westeros.

Six years ago now—crows fly, time fliesI wrote a post about a poem: Grace Butcher's Crow is Walking, one I sometimes ask a new group of students to read and reflect upon, often as preliminary step toward Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird. Once I got going with Pinterest, it occurred to me to look and see if there were any pictures of crows or ravens out there. Little did I know. The thing about Pinterest? If you can conceive of it, there are people out there—probably a lot of people out there—who have boards devoted to it. So I started following some of those boards and accumulating my own little blackbird archive. Which is where the pictures from yesterday's post came from. Something different. A little exercise in juxtaposition.

What first got my attention with Counting Crows was the way their lyrics often broke free of literal sense in ways that felt both exact and exhilarating. When I think of heaven... I think of flying down into a sea of pins and feathers and all other instruments of faith and sex and God in the belly of a black winged bird. Yes. Yes. God, yes.

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