My Crow by Raymond Carver
A crow flew into the tree outside my window.
It was not Ted Hughes’s crow, or Galway’s crow.
Or Frost’s, Pasternak’s, or Lorca’s crow.
Or one of Homer’s crows, stuffed with gore,
after the battle. This was just a crow.
That never fit in anywhere in its life,
or did anything worth mentioning.
It sat there on the branch for a few minutes.
Then picked up and flew beautifully
out of my life.
For the longest time I never did fit anywhere in my life. Been told too many times how I’m too tender-hearted to survive in a cruel world, that I’m too much of a poet to understand what real life is, that there is too much softness about me that’s not built to last in this lifetime. And yet.
What this year was like: heavy with grief and loss, heavy with anxiety and trauma, heavy with darkness and doubt. And yet.
What else can I do but hold all this weight in the palm of my hands—all this despair and also all this joy, all this anguish and also all this happiness—and bow my head before it in thanks, for it has been my life, and it has been my heart, and now it is time to let it go.
This poem appeared in All of Us: The Collected Poems by Raymond Carver, published by Vintage Books, 1996. Shared here with profound gratitude.
“A rich collection of poems from not only “one of the great short story writers of our time” (The Philadelphia Inquirer), but one of America’s most large-hearted and affecting poets.
Like Raymond Carver’s stories, the more than 300 poems in All of Us are marked by a keen attention to the physical world; an uncanny ability to compress vast feeling into discreet moments; a voice of conversational intimacy, and an unstinting sympathy.
This complete edition brings together all the poems of Carver’s five previous books, from Fires to the posthumously published No Heroics, Please. It also contains bibliographical and textual notes on individual poems; a chronology of Carver’s life and work; and a moving introduction by Carver’s widow, the poet Tess Gallagher.”
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