Raven Realm

October 9, 2021. Another extended boon-docking adventure has wound up back in Austin, Airstream in the driveway until we finish cleanup, 3 days thus far of sorting mail, paying bills, and checking for oddities in the yardscape. Enough. Time to indulge, share one of the many poems that emerged during these recent travels.

I’ve long had a thing for ravens. Their “black” includes blue highlights when the sun shines on them just so, and they are full of antics that capture my fancy. The part of New Mexico we just visited is home to many ravens, seen in small groups of 3 or 4 as well as solo – their silhouettes punctuating roadway skylines and their quirky calls penetrating forested mountains. Difficult birds to photograph! Especially in flight. But I got lucky enough to make do. This image is a composite of bluffs in the El Malpais National Conservation Area plus cooperative ravens from the next day (far more “accurate” than failed attempts to capture both at once!)

The poem began as a haiku, then grew into a series, composed in the passenger seat as we rolled along the Continental Divide in New Mexico.

26 thoughts on “Raven Realm

    1. Thank you, VJ – New Mexico is diverse – parts beautiful, parts as bland/blah as they come. This trip included areas I’d never seen before. Like El Malpais! We definitely want to go back there for an extended exploration – there’s a drive that takes you between lava craters (inactive now!) and we stumbled on a delightful place for boondocking.

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    1. Grinning here. Thank you, Ron. I’ve known for a while that my emotions have wings … they fly off out of reach just when I want them to sit still. And I suspect wings may be what’s happening with my mental grasping for a suddenly-escaped word …

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    1. Thank you, Sarah. The poem is subtly a response to SCN’s call for poems on “Place” … this was after-the-deadline but I kept looking all around and thinking “Place! This is SOME place!” I’m jealous of the ravens’ ability to soar around, scoping out that immense place on multiple levels.

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    1. Kelly, thank you. I love working with haiku – finding fewer syllables to express something huge. And haiku’s a great riding-in-truck pass-time (brief enough to keep in my head till I find something to write with!)

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  1. Love the picture and what great captures of ravens on the wing! I also love that you have expanded the role of ravens in poetry to include soaring and being inspirational. (As opposed to sitting still in a room and . . .)

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    1. Leah, yes! Ravens belong in the sky, not sitting in a room with Poe!
      Re capturing ravens in flight – I was limited to my iPhone and have less than a second to “prepare” as they don’t exactly communicate what they’re about to do! I took LOTS of impossibly blurred and cropped-short shots but got lucky the day after writing this … that was my clue to make this the first post of my trip insights.

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  2. Oh this is SO lovely, Jazz! One of your best poems! And I love the openness of the photo, it’s a perfect complement to your words.

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    1. Thank you! In your NM travels did you ever go to Pie Town? We’d heard about this and finally got there – the most delicious pumpkin/pecan pie ever! Gotta figure out how to duplicate that as a pudding.

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  3. I especially love the last stanza and the beautiful photo! Did you know that sometimes Ravens are in the Austin area? They are either Common Ravens or Chihuahuan Ravens. My bird book shows both those species as coming just into this area. I saw a pair once at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildlife Center. And I swear I heard and saw one last week, flying high over Southwest Austin. They make a croaking sound.
    Also, I recently went to the post office to buy some stamps and I asked the postal lady if they had any that were nature related. She produced a sheet of stamps with the image of a lovely stylized raven. They are called Raven Story.

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    1. Oh, wow – thank you Betty! I’ll be heading to the PO tomorrow for stamps!!
      Not this past summer but in 2019 and 2020 a pair of ravens nested in a tree a couple streets from our house – we had a few visits in our yard and would see them near “their tree” as we drove out of the neighborhood. I hope they’ll come back. (No clue which of the two types these were – but too large to be crows and just a pair, not a “murder”.

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