Max Porter wrote a book in 2015 called Grief is the Thing with Feathers. It alternates chapters — between Dad, Boys, and Crow — and each one is a poem. My favorite one, the one that best explains my love for Crow, is a Dad poem, on page 75, right smack dab in the middle of the book. Dad’s wife, the Boys’ mother, has died. Crow shows up as something between a hallucination and an incarnation, and he torments the three males in the empty-feeling house so that they will get up and at ‘em again. In this chapter Dad takes Boys to a Birds of Prey Flying Display. At first they are all eyes for the bald eagle, but then Crow shows up. Imagine a deck of cards. If you were to draw a bald eagle card, you’d guess it beats a common carrion crow. You’d be wrong.
“’Oh, now here you are, who’s this? Oh, lordy lordy, you tasty little bugger, excuse my language folks. It being springtime the carrion crow in this field here is protecting eggs, as well you would with a bloody eagle about, HOW ABOUT THAT! That, ladies and gentlemen, is a brave little bastard. That is a crow, SURFIN’ A BALD EAGLE!’”
Stranger things have happened, if you know anything about crows. But the strangest thing that happens in the poem is the effect this bold crow parent has on our broken little family.
“I turned sideways and the boys were spontaneously holding hands.”
Some things in our lives are oh so hard. Crow was created for those times. Crow is who we need to make us shoot up, cry out, and spontaneously hold hands.
“Up we shot, all three of us. A standing ovation.
‘GO CROW!’ we yelled.”
Stand and clap, dear friends. Your redemption draweth nigh on black wings.