By the spinney gate
under the old hornbeam
in the deepening gloom
it is the time of day
for the jackdaws to arrive
at the city in the rafters
of vaulting, unclothed
beech and sycamore.

It starts, a rumour
of airborne legions
marching home on
stygian cloud trails
distant chatter, carried
on February’s chill
from the gathering place
then multiplies
folding the air
till a glorious din
dense, voluminous
causes the very chest cavity
to throb to the echo
ears are stopped, and
faces crease with gladness.

Time, through the lens
of memory, foreshortens.
A snapshot is filed.

A calm descends
as black clans in silhouette
clothe the trees’ nakedness
and the babble ebbs
to isolated exchanges
above the muttered rumble
of the earthbound
metalled, human road
across the fields

then flows again
as, with a clarion cheer
high-pitched, with
incongruous bass notes
the dark helix heaves
upward, pauses, poised
then settles again, finally
under night’s blanket.


8 thoughts on “Roost

  1. “and the babble ebbs
    to isolated exchanges
    above the muttered rumble”
    You use of alliteration is wonderful here, Julian. It brings the elements to life.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There is so much that I love about the poem. I have a huge amount of love for the crows (as I already shared with you) and you capture them so well here. Even though the language is so rich and builds captures their nature: a sense untamed aggression yet wholly ordered in their chaos, it is the simple, core words that grab what I feel is the essence of their gathering: ‘a rumour’, ‘distant chatter’, ‘a glorious din’, ‘the babble ebbs’ are all lines that made me say ‘yes!’ that’s it, that’s just what it’s like for me too! On saying that ‘dark helix heaves’ is just plain masterful. Keep them coming Julian  A pleasure to read.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really like this, Julian. You recreate this event with such startling clarity that it stirs a kind of genetic memory, a sense of ancient ritual and mysticism that we and our ancestors have been observing since time began.


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