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Unread 05-17-2020, 07:33 PM
RCL's Avatar
RCL RCL is offline
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Default As the Crow Flies

Rev 3

The Bird Detective

As if in innocent flight, the crow
that used to beat his travel time
led him home to witness crime
this gumshoe was the last to know.

One he never would suppose—
a human crime some corvids mime.
Was it hinted in Poe’s rhyme
about a Raven speaking prose?

As on TV, this was his cold-case
of bad-beaked birds. Their motive? Plot?
When back home, he had to face
a legs-up crow out on his lot:

Four crows, heads bent, bowed to their mate. . .
Saying grace before they ate?



Rev 2

The Bird Detective

As if in innocent flight, the crow
that used to beat his travel time
led him home to find a crime
this gumshoe was too slow to know.

It’s one he never would suppose—
the human crime some corvids mime;
perhaps as in Poe’s avian rhyme
with its Raven speaking prose?

As on TV, it was his cold-case
of bad-guy birds. Their motive? Plot?
When he reached home, he’d had to face
a legs-up crow out on his lot:

Crows bowing heads before a mate.
Saying grace before they ate?




For the Birds


As if in innocent flight, the crow
that used to beat his travel time
led him home to find a crime
of violence that he didn’t know.

It’s one he never would suppose—
the human crime some corvids mime,
maybe implicit in Poe’s rhyme
with its Raven’s pointless prose.

Like on TV, it’s still a cold-case
about dumb birds. The motive? Plot?
When he’d reached home, he had to face
the black bird, legs-up, on his lot.

Crows bowing heads before a mate.
Saying grace before they ate?



Q2L3: implicit for suggested
Q2L2: corvids for crows


As the Crow Flies

In seemingly innocent flight, a crow
that always beat my travel time
once led me home to find a crime
by crows, an act I didn’t know,
that flocks of them would kill a crow,
the human crime crows seem to mime.
For me, this is a cold-case mystery,
a murder of crows. The motive? Its plot?
When I’d reached home, this tableau froze me:
Black bird, legs-up, dropped on my lot.
Crows bowing heads before their mate.
Saying grace before they ate?
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Last edited by RCL; 05-25-2020 at 11:06 AM.
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Unread 05-18-2020, 10:05 AM
Kurt Rasmussen Kurt Rasmussen is offline
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I like the idea of this, but I would consider reducing the number of times the word "crow" appears in the first stanza, and I wouldn't end two lines with it -- seems like you're rhyming the word with itself, which jars. I've actually seen it work, but not in this case, in my opinion.
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Unread 05-18-2020, 12:02 PM
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Kurt, thanks for dropping by. I put back a quatrain that takes care of the rhyme problem you note.
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Unread 05-18-2020, 06:24 PM
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Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
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Ralph, this one isn't really working for me. The octet feels like it's stretching itself to reach its required length: "a crime / by crows", "a killing by a flock of crows", "the human crime that corvids mime", and then the Poe allusion just to really drive things home. It's hard enough to play with "a murder of crows" as is—it's so obviously poetic (and thus low-hanging) that ironically it becomes difficult to use poetically—and these eight lines really just hammer it in. It's too much.

In the sestet, I wish I got more of a window into the narrator's response. Or something else, I dunno—the main point, I guess, is just that the payoff is a bit flat. There's potential in the couplet, but you need what precedes it to set up its impact, and that's what I'm not getting right now.
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Unread 05-18-2020, 06:57 PM
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Aaron, thanks for the look-see. N isn't too bright, as it turns out.
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Unread 05-25-2020, 07:44 AM
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Ed Shacklee Ed Shacklee is offline
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Ralph,

I get a kick out of this -- it's enjoyably wry in a humorously morbid way. It's not the deepest thing you've ever written, but what the heck. I'm a sucker for ersatz pulp like "Play It Again, Sam."

Just a few thoughts. In S1L4, I suggest "the last" in exchange for "too slow" - the last to know is very gumshoe-ish. And I think I'd behead the iamb at the beginning of the next line -- "One he never would suppose" -- as it wouldn't hurt to bite a word or two off, Hemingway style.

The legs-up crow made me smile, as did the end. All right, I'm mordant, so what?

Best,

Ed
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Unread 05-25-2020, 11:08 AM
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Thanks, Ed. You’re my favorite Mordant, of course, and your book is well-thumbed in my neighborhood! Yes, “last to know” is better. Good to see and hear from you again. Yeah, I’m, as it were, way outta my depths since turning 80.
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