September Raven

by Len Krisak (January 2015)

             With clonic strut they come,

       Six starlings bent on feeding,

Stabbing the raddled lawn that’s just endured

Its fall re-seeding.


                      They annex, peck by peck,

                      One hardy patch of fescue,

Purple then green in sun that cannot come to

The grass’s rescue.


                      Not half so proud or sharp,

                      A raven also bent

On grub is stalking, sleeker than a Blackhawk’s

Hood ornament.


                      He is his appetite,

                      And driven by ravening need,

Picks at his food, an actor mimicking

Finicky greed.


                      A sheen so black it’s blue

                      Glazes the Corvus corax

A coat of jet, with a skin-tight jabot

Choking the thorax


                      Juddering its gobbets down

                      At nothing like full-throttle,

With muffled sounds a wino makes jug-jugging

The day’s first bottle.


                      The glistening, hungry eye

                      Set in its cowled head

Swivels like a gun-mount to shoot the starlings

It wishes dead


                      One glance to prove it covets

                      Even their tenuous seed,

And would devour, if it could, the ground

On which they feed.



Len Krisak has published in The London Magazine, The Oxonian Review, PN Review, Standpoint, Agni, The Antioch Review, The Sewanee Review, The Hudson ReviewThe Dark Horse, Agenda, The Hopkins ReviewCommonweal, Literary Imagination, The Oxford Book of Poems on Classical Mythology, and others. His latest book is Virgil’s Eclogues, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010. Forthcoming: The Carmina of Catullus, Carcanet Press, 2015, Afterimage, Measure Press, 2014, Rilke: New Poems, Boydell & Brewer, 2015 and Ovid: The Amores and The Ars Amatoria, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014.



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