Of Wind and Wing
Each evening, they gathered in the gloaming,
a clamour of caws and claws over my head.
They did not fight the gale’s fist, no, they lived
to give themselves to wind. Black,
so black, a thousand rags, they soared on wind,
to roost under a crescent moon.
When they left, I wept.
There was only silence for three days.
Then they came again, in flames.
Smoke spat from scorched wings,
tails dragged trails of black, like lengths of
plastic torn from silage bales.
I saw those crows catch fire in their claws,
Heard the howl of vowels from each charred beak.
I watched. I inhaled the reek, the rot.
They tumbled down, thump by thump.
Shovel up, I lifted fifteen from the haggart,
and tucked each one under a blanket of wet dirt.
Black crept in under my nails that day
but below, my lunulae still shine pale,
white moons at the base of each torn nail.
When they had all gone into ground, I made a rookery
of my mind. Now my face is a house
of dark windows that turn mirrors at night.
Doireann Ní Ghríofa is a bilingual poet writing both in Irish and in English. Paula Meehan awarded her the Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary 2014-‐‑2015. Her most recent book is Clasp (Dedalus Press, 2015). She writes “ʺwith tenderness and unflinching curiosity” (Poetry Magazine, Chicago).
‘Of Wind and Wing’ is featured in the winter issue of The Lonely Crowd, alongside another new poem from Doireann. The issue can be purchased here.
Copyright © Doireann Ní Ghríofa. Image: Copyright © Jo Mazelis.