Five Noisy Crows
Sunny, still and cold.
Found, on the gravel road I walked this morning,
one beer can, part full of frozen tobacco juice
that when I shook it came apart like chunks of amber,
and a quarter-sized piece from a fluted china plate,
with a soft pink rose the size of a pencil eraser
and a curl of flying, pale blue ribbon. In a nearby tree,
five noisy crows who had seen me stooping there /were busy creating a plausible story.
– Ted Kooser, Winter Morning Walks: one hundred postcards to Jim Harrison
I love that the five noisy crows don’t show up until the end of the poem. They surprise us, as crows often do. The surprise of the poem is that Kooser has not been alone as he stoops and finds items on the gravel road..
When I read a crow poem — and they are legion — I first look to see if the poet has captured Crow’s essence. In this poem the crows are not only noisy but also crafty.
When we begin the poem, we assume Kooser has found things that humans dropped, but when we end the poem, we learn that each treasure was dropped by crows. And what do the crows do when their thievery is discovered? They “were busy creating a plausible story.”
Yes, Kooser knows exactly what bird is watching him.