Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Monday, March 1, 2010

March Muse Day

Mary Oliver

From a single grain they have multiplied.
When you look in the eyes of one
you have seen them all.

At the edges of highways
they pick up limp things.
They are anything but refined.

Or they fly out over the the corn
like pellets of black fire,
like overloads.

Crow is crow, you say.
What else is there to say?
Drive down any road,

take a train or an airplane
across the world, leave
your old life behind,

die and be born again--
wherever you arrive
they'll be there first,

glossy and rowdy
and indistinguishable.
The deep muscle of the world.

Please join host Carolyn Gail, An artist and garden designer who dishes the dirt on gardening in the Windy City at her blog Sweet Home and Garden Chicago for other Muse Day offerings.

I hope that you all had a sweet weekend.



  1. I love Mary Oliver and yes, even the crows. They are part of the ecosystem and add their voices to the cacophany that plays each morning. Happy Muse Day! :-)

  2. I love the way Mary Oliver intertwines nature and humans. We are all a part of One. Crows gather in the wood lot across from our house each night during this winter. It is amazing to see so many come together. They stage there and then fly away to some overnight roost spot.

  3. Crows are okay as long as they are NOT roosting in our trees..

  4. The weekend was great, I got a lot done! I'll "crow" about it: finally got the lawnmower in you know where!

  5. Maybe we can't even call what we have "Spring" - no lilacs and only see grackles, not crows in my neighborhood. Do Blue Jays count for "glossy and rowdy Lite"?

    Happy Muse Day, Gail ;-]

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  6. Annie, Bluejays are in the same family as crows, magpies and ravens so yes we can! Happy Muse Day to you~gail

  7. Crows are the same over here - perhaps it's the same the whole world over?!

    Lots of sunshine today so I can go a-gardening at last :)

    Happy Muse Day!

  8. Mary Oliver has become one of my favorite poets--thanks to bloggers like you who introduced me to her! Now that the snow is slowly beginning to melt, I'm seeing more and more crows here--lots of spilled corn left in the fields for them to forage.

    Wishing you a Happy Muse Day, too, Gail!

  9. The crows are so pretty and such a big part of the ecosystem. Great poem about them.

  10. Hi all...I like crows and enjoy their antics. They were the first birds i noticed that seemed to walk, not hop like robins. They are quite smart and their sworn enemy is Owl. I read that they are most in danger from Owl while roosting at night; in retaliation they will attack Owl during the daytime. Nature is not always gentle.


  11. Caw! I guess it was alive! (Sorry.) Nice poem. I occasionally see crows in my backyard.

  12. Interesting poem, Gail, and so true about crows. A few years ago, the West Nile virus devastated many of our backyard birds (including the crow) that, thankfully, have returned. The silence was eerie! Happy March Monday Muse Day :)

  13. Happy Muse Day, Gail;-) 'Crow is crow'...good line! But yes, I have always welcomed crows as much as any other birds, although I tend to photograph those with color (I supposed I lean toward the bright colors, esp. in winter)...and I don't mind the crows as long as they don't bring their entire flock to every feeder and tree limb for more than their allotted time. They have to 'share' with the others:)

  14. Hi, Gail;
    I'm not a fan of crows - they are such bullies the way they travel in a pack... But I am a fan of Mary Oliver, and this was great! Happy Muse Day!

  15. I am newly acquainted with Mary Oliver but becoming a devoted fan. thank you for this. We have many many crows. And too much snow right now.

  16. Happy Muse Day Gail. I love Mary Oliver, and I'm so glad I've gotten to hear her read on cd. It was wonderful.~~Dee

  17. I like crows. They help me to feel a bit like at home when I travel far. There should be something unchanging in this everchanging life. Happy March to you, Gail!

  18. Gail girl .. I will always remember the crow calls while I played in the woods .. it was part of the forrest to me .. even now when I listen to that type of relaxation background .. frogs, birds .. crickets .. I love it all including the crow : )
    They are also Halloweeny ? LOL
    Joy .. cabin fever !! ;-)

  19. ...glossy and rowdy
    and indistinguishable...crow is crow! Great poem, Gail. I think crows are fun to watch, and I have learned something I didn't know about them--stay away from owls! At least WE don't have to eat crow! ;-)

  20. They are likely my favorite bird, mainly because they seem to show up at important events in my life. Thanks for sharing the poem.

  21. Ah my dear old friends, the crow's, the mornings I have fantasised about shooting them (what are they all squawking about anyway). We use to have a deranged neighbour, who use to come running out of his house, screaming at the crows to shut up while shouting into the trees with his rifle. Quite an interesting sequence of sounds to wake up to on a sleepy Sunday morning. Squak Squak... Squak Squak... AAHHHHHHH....Bang bang bang............Squak (them crows always get the last say)

  22. Hi Gail, Stone Art's comment reminds me of a camping trip years ago. It was early morning and the only creatures stirring were the flock of resident crows and they made such a ruckus. Finally, impetuous soul that I am, I yelled "SHUT UP" from my sleeping bag in my tent. The upside: it did the trick. The downside: Being mortified for the rest of the day.

    Nice poem. Crows are enigmatic creatures, aren't they?

  23. this poem captures the essence of crows. happy muse day.
    happy march.

  24. Great poem!

    We've been watching the Starlings raid the bird feeders this morning.


  25. If you are an urban gardener, then it's important to make peace with the crows and learn to appreciate them. They've been the subject of a number of my drawings and I am even developing a bit of a crow category in my garden library. Though I love Mary Oliver, I was unfamiliar with this poem so thanks for the introduction.

  26. Crows are such misunderstood birds. I think they are beautiful birds but they do give a mean wake up call at times. We have a group of about half a dozen that drop by each morning and afternoon. I can only wonder about where they journey each day as they depart.

  27. We have crows around all of the time, both Common and Fish. They make the most bizarre noises and talk to each other all of the time.

  28. Thanks for a great post. I grew up hearing tales of Blackie, my mother's pet crow. He was very intelligent and loyal to her. I have observed that a whole flock of crows will come to the defense of one member.

  29. Wow,

    Nice poem, it even makes crows seem less creepy.


"Insects are the little things that run the world." Dr. E O Wilson