Crows do not have Retirement

Original Text: 
David Zieroth, Crows do not have Retirement (Madeira Park, B.C.: Harbour Publishing, 2001): 113-15.
1."There are no words to capture the infinite depth of
2crowiness in the crow's flight.."
3--Ted Hughes, Winter Pollen
4Crows do not have retirement
5homes to go to when finally
6their wings break down
7No one takes them in
8with a sigh and says
9sit here for a bit
10while I bring you
11a cup of raw worm
12to help keep your head
13swivelling, on the lookout
14for fledglings or the dead,
15the eagle making you
16flock and dive
17that white untouchable pate
18No one guides them gently
19into their last years,
20takes account of their
21final movements or hears
22their calls, their stout beaks
23opening without sound
24as if thirsting,
25their inky heads against
26the starchy white linen,
27constant television nearby
28They fold up in the curb
29in the August heat,
30the sheen gone from wings
31They no longer lift
32out of the heap
33no other crow will touch
34nor even admit,
35passing by without
36an exploratory peck
37leaving their own kind
38to gulls, rats, worms, the municipality
39To keep the black
40ideal of ravenousness
41alive, they hop and lift off
42and cruise past windows
43where old men catch their flash
44and are sent off dreaming
45of their own unequalled speed and grace
46the guns they once held
47in their long arms and the damage
48they shook from the air
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire / Sharine Leung
RPO Edition: 
Special Copyright: 

Copyright © David Zieroth. Written permission is required to republish the poem.