Ada Limón’s “Privacy”
Most of the crow poems I have profiled in this occasional series lean into the hidden meaning of it all — crow as metaphor. But Ada Limón goes in the opposite direction in her poem “Privacy.” She sees two crows land on a linden tree, and she writes, “They do not / care to be seen as symbols.” And yet, they speak.
They are introduced in line 3: “two crows land / They say, Stop, and still I want / to make them into something they are not.” They are not messengers. When they leave, “There was no message / given, no message I was asked to give.” The poet was simply asked to Stop, and she did.
How often do we Stop? Stop our bodies. Stop our minds. Stop our racing hearts. Stop.
The other thing I like about this poem is that Limón points us to another poem by Ezra Pound. His two-line poem is not about crows, but the first and last lines of her poem — with the “black wet branches” — echo his.
In a Station of the Metro
The apparition of these faces in the crowd:
Petals on a wet, black bough.
Pound was a poet of the Imagist tradition, which asked readers to look and look well. To Stop. As Limón sees two crows land on black wet branches of a linden, she thinks of Pound’s poem. These two crows are black petals. They are faces. “The crows seem ”
enormous but only because / I am watching them too closely.”
They’re just a couple of crows.
Photo courtesy 378383
“Megan Willome has captured the essence of crow in this delightful children’s collection. Not only do the poems introduce the reader to the unusual habits and nature of this bird, but also different forms of poetry as well.”
—Michelle Ortega, poet and children’s speech pathologist