Crow’s Way in Late Fall

by Dan Stryk

What need of philosophy, or abstract talk
            that droops and withers
once again, at each year’s
end, like the cluster of blond yarrow
turned to brittle ochre
stalks — still tied to its wooden
stake with rope, yet doomed to crumble
at the touch?
What need, then,
of notions I replant each year
that wither, anyway, back into
jabberwock, or else
are nibbled by unthinking
groundhogs or small troops
of glittering beetles into shabby
leaves which droop

like rags?
Why not, then, be livened
by that season’s watchful
humorist, who waits on a dead walnut
limb I’ve failed to trim, wings
spread, from time to time,
like a black kite above
the bitter nutfall squirrels
But knowing
                not to hurriedly
hop down to cluck his wrath
or fluster them, and thus himself.  Or set
them straight on what a wise
bird eats.

My throat might well,
      in the coming year, belong
to the ever-chuckling crow

who’ll sail down then
       to once more
waddle   pecking   pecking
   round the greening