Crow Art


It is an un-contestable truth

that crows are the greatest artists

of this whole wide world

creating art from nothing


But I acknowledge

that this assertion

may be arguable

to some I presume.


But what do they know?

From early dawn

unseen by the waking world

crows create sculptures

and ready-mades

from all they find.


Corvids invented


before humans

claimed it their own.


Jackdaws and Jays

with their cool

grey blue eyes

masters of this work

re-arrange leaves

effortlessly, so easily

into intricate patterns

of choice and design


In which Rooks

judging with their beaks

exercise an exquisite

taste for blunt humour


Ravens however remain

aloof in their rule

completing aerial feats

loop the loops and

arabesques in displays

of deep disdain.


Without corvids design

the constant effort to re-arrange

it would look as if

nothing had changed.


That old fiend Duchamp

would have appreciated

the crows efforts to lay

everything bare

if he himself had not

lost his wit

from endlessly

taking the piss.


Poe would of course

laugh rapturously

from the shallow

darkness of his pit.





Yielding to the push of my fingertips

The door opens swinging easily.

In the mirror at the end of the hall

A black silhouette gold edged

A moon eyed trout.

Caught. Mesmorised.

By the blinding gleam

Of the poachers torch.

And in the same beam.

Entrapped and transfixed

in the cold white

Electric glare. A fluttering moth.

I stand there. Staring.

My own reflection before me.

I look myself up and down

From one side to the other.

From one hand to the other.

Workmen’s hands.

Shit, shit on this earth

Why do I have hands like those?

Those pathetic absurdities

Hanging limp and loose

Looking as though they’ve been stuck on

The ends of those stick thin brown wrists.

Thick fingered flesh.

Waiting to be used.

Something to be done with them.

Touched and turned over in them.

A rough edged stone perhaps

Warily feeling for smooth

Surfaces fingered, stroked and pressed.


Every morning I step off the train

I make my way through

The green drab coats of men

Their hands dangling

In the morning air

Limp-pink, washed and cleaned.

Forgotten, flapping.


And down there on the black beach

Down past the turmoil

Of smoke and steel

And the cauldrons of molten slag

A dead sea gulls wing

Half buried, left on the shore

After the high waves

Had at last receded.

Made to flap by the wind.

Grotesque as everything is there

As though it were imitating

Its’ own once beautiful flight

And deaths mockery all that is left

To remind of its once graceful past.


Silently men merge into lines

Following one another

Through the murky dawn

The sky not light with sun

Cars slowly move and churn

The dust on the road.

Brown dust that rises and falls

Continuously. Unnoticed.

Staining the rooves

Of the houses near

The looming hulk

Of the steel works.

And as cars speed out

Along the road

The dust swirls

Up into the air

And is turned

Into a thick brown cloud.


Each morning

As I make my way

To the steel works

It’s the same.

Head down. Eyes staring.

Old eyes staring now and then

At young faces that pass by

The night shift on its way home.

And from beneath the brim

Of cloth caps unseeing eyes

See everything.


The door swings shut behind me.

All is dark again.



In the house warming

Klaus spoke about

his experience of moving

to the run down valley

a former mining town

where he now resides.

He recalled the first visit

to a doctor and noted

as he sat down the doctor

barely glanced his way

seemingly unable to take

his eyes from the computer

dominating his desk.

Klaus spoke politely

in his soft German accent

making no effort to hide

the wryness of his smile.

“When you have a moment

I will tell you the reason

I am sitting here.

It may be of interest to you.”


A day later I paid a visit

to a doctor too

it was an emergency

I’d thought I was lucky

to be given an appointment

so quickly on the same day

The young locum

sat down and started

to conduct a conversation

while fiddling with the printer

he opened the paper drawer

slamming it again and again

At some point I stopped

speaking he didn’t seem

to notice this at all

he apologised but now

his back was turned

away from me.

He phoned admin

and another person

entered the room

and I watched as the two

conducted an animated

discussion on matters

of computer technology,

and which of the doctors

had left the printer jammed.

I sat quietly listening,

it was pleasant enough

I suppose sitting there

listening to the discussion

and for the moment

I’d forgotten the pain.