Two ravens from out the west

For dverse, a cascade poem inspired by this painting by Jackie Hurlbert.

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I saw them at the break of day,

Two ravens flying from the west.

They settled on the roof ridge, waiting.


Watching from the walls, impatient,

Peering where the sentries pace,

I saw them at the break of day.


You’d been long gone, I wished you home,

Hoped to see a messenger not

Two ravens flying from the west.


Harbingers with ill luck bearing,

Stench of battlefield in their wings,

They settle on the roof ridge, waiting.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

60 thoughts on “Two ravens from out the west”

      1. When I was a teen, a couple of time birds flew down the chimney into the house. We had two dogs, and they were going crazy. I think we finally got the bird out, but I suspect that often if a bird flies indoors, it signals the bird’s death. 😉

      2. I was very upset when I was eleven or so when a bird fell down the chimney in my bedroom. The chimney have been blocked up so we couldn’t let it out. I heard it fluttering, getting weaker and weaker until it died.

      3. It was awful. I wanted my dad to knock the bricks through but he wouldn’t. It has to be said he wasn’t much of a handman and didn’t have tools for knocking walls down and building them up again.
        I’m glad your bird got out, though the experience might have damaged it.

      4. Impossible. The only thing he ever made was half a bookcase. He ran out of materials and patience half-way through and the last shelves were just raw unsanded planks propped up with bricks 🙂

      5. My father didn’t make anything either, or really do anything about that house. He learned to cook a bit after he and mom got divorced.

      1. You are welcome. That’s ok on GoT, because one day you will and seeing it for the first time can never be repeated for its entertainment value.

      2. I started to read the books years ago. One of the kids brought one back from the library and I was stuck at home in the aftermath of a difficult birth so I read all their library books. The French translation I thought was pretty good. I dipped into the original once and decided I preferred the French.

  1. I could feel the clench of anticipation at the end. My family has drilled some superstitions into my head from a young age and dark wings, dark omens is one that seem to drift in from outside the family but stuck just as well.

  2. A haunting tale and the form worked so well to express the darkness of the raven. I sometimes worry when I see one lingering around a little longer than I like.

    1. Thank you. I like the repetition in this form, it fits the story-telling idea. The crow family are interesting, but not lovable if you’re a smaller bird. I often see them being chased away from nests and fledglings by angry songbirds.

  3. This is the picture that appealed to me also. I just love your use of repetition – so that the poem becomes a chant reminiscent of the old rhymes of folklore and magic. Yo really captured the way superstitions linger into our contemporary world. Nice work!

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