This entry is part 82 of 92 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2011


They say not the dove first but the raven,
sent out to fly back and forth across the earth
all in shadow, until the waters had dried up
and the penitent returned with their paired
beasts and the seeds of future gardens
pressed in the crevices of their palms.

But memory, long and bright in the sun,
shrivels in darkness or solitude. In the stories,
the bird is only a herald: it brings back
proof that something in the void sustains,
with wings that change color too: not always

sooty or dark, but touched with flame
like a breast or the fruit of a heart
offered up to the soul. And oh it wants
so much to be dissolved in the hour of its
most brooding need— what it seeks in the cup
not charity but some form of kindness, mercy.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

*and after Clive Hicks-Jenkins’ “The Prophet Fed by a Raven”

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3 Replies to “Parable”

  1. Dave,
    Cross posting this, too, in response to your TMP and to Clive’s painting, or how he might paint the “intimations” I talk about here. I’ve got his website now, so I might do some ekphrastic poems later. (Note the Jenkins strophe below. (:–))


    It would be a classic Dali: bleached carcass
    limp on a branch like a wayward pancake
    and a brittle bracken leaf thrown over it,
    instead of melting clocks draped in a landscape
    of swarming ants and a piece of Catalonia.

    Would the stalking feral feline be a Kahlo
    then? And the gamboling arboreal rodents
    a persistent memory of an abandoned lunch
    where Monet could have etched them gleaning
    atop a table that has not been cleared away,

    instead of his son Jean playing quietly
    alone in the dappled shade where sunlight
    falls and the colour sparkles? And the sodden
    cat’s gravel gray fur? And the palpable tension
    there? Clive Hicks-Jenkins, sipping Welsh tea,

    could easily paint that in a corner of his canvas
    between a raven and a firebird and let it bode
    disaster for those absently unheeding squirrels.
    Except that he would not. He is too gentle.
    He would have those rodents dancing with the cat.

    —Albert B. Casuga

  2. Well you’ve got me there Albert! It’s true, I would have the squirrels dancing with the cat. (Except there’s no cat!) Sometimes when I look out at the grass under the apple tree in our drive where I feed the birds, it’s too damned close for comfort to that scene in Snow White where many small woodland creatures gambol together. Rooks, pheasants, baby rabbits and yes, squirrels, forage for seed fallen from the feeders rigged for the smaller birds. Now I just have to teach them how to do my laundry!

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