Winter rooks – rubaiyat for dVerse

I watch a crowd of rooks go by –
black cut-outs on a paper sky –
“They’re looking out for food”, I say.
They’re waiting for something to die.

We feed the pretty garden crew;
the blue tit and the blackbird, too,
but rooks are harbingers of death,
and no-one wants to give them food.

But me, I like their clever eyes,
head cocked, to keep you in their sight,
their feathers – scattered midnight flakes –
their casual, skilful, human flight.

This is my first offering for the dVerse form exploration this month. Frank introduces the rubaiyat – most famous in the western world for the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam – lushly decadently romantic stuff. I hadn’t realised Robert Frost had played with the form too.

What I found last month, with the sonnet, was that my first offering was quite tum-ti-tum, but it got the feel of the form into my head, and once that was there things got deeper and richer. I had to work on the structure becoming part of my thought process, and then I could work with it more naturally. I’ll be interested to see if that happens again this month.

As usual, all (constructive?) criticism is welcome. That’s how I grow.

And do go over to dVerse and see what’s happening. A huge range of poets, from beginners to old lags, a huge variety of style, and lots of talent.

Also, I just discovered that “rooks” is one of my tags. I know I have a slight obsession with them, but even so…


31 thoughts on “Winter rooks – rubaiyat for dVerse

  1. I had to look up “rooks” to find out it is type of crow found in Eurasia. Is it a common word where you live?

    I am guessing England where, unlike the USA where skillful has two ‘l’s, you have only one. (your “about” does not share).

    This was a fantastic poem, loved the dark images (though I am not sure this poor bird deserves it, lol. The wiki article did not mention them to have a dead animal diet — but when urban food is scare and road kill plenty …). The rhyme and rhythms we perfect and a very easy friendly read.

    One puzzle for me in the poem — the last line. Why “human” flight? Didn’t fit for me. But I probably missed something.


  2. You had me at /black cut-outs on a paper sky/. I Iike the”crowd of rooks” vs. our “murder of crows”. Crows and ravens can talk like mina-birds. Can rooks?


  3. I liked this Sarah! I love birds, crows and ravens as well, though they do get a bad rap – no help from Poe. Like Glenn commented, we refer to a “murder” of crows. That’s rather ominous. I really liked the use of crew in your piece here. The tempo created by your word choice in this poem was fluid and really delightful. I got inspired by Frank’s rubaiyat thing and posted two – one dark, one light. Both of mine follow Frost’s 8-syllable line format.


  4. Your description here puts the rooks within my sight. But I must say, if they are harbingers of impending death, I do not like that their heads are cocked, looking at me!


  5. I love the flow of your poem Sarah and I too love ravens and crows. They’re very intelligent birds and I especially enjoyed ‘their feathers – scattered midnight flakes’ 🙂💖


  6. i learn so much about the English countryside from your poems and am usually lost in my head picturing them. your rubaiyat has a beautiful tempo, to my untrained eye your commas are perfectly placed for the reader to get into the beat. lovely Sarah.


  7. by hook or by rook….I like the second verse in particular, that rhyme between “too” and “food”, I think it’s little tricks like that, that break the dreaded “tum-ti-tum” that you refer to in your discussion.


  8. Corvid lovers unite! You set a smart scene of death and food and cleverness. Are rooks seen as harbingers of death because they’ll eat carrion?


    • You have such great birds in Australia. I remember the psychopathic magpies, and the galahs, and we actually stopped the car at one point because we thought the bellbirds were a fault in the suspension. And you’ve just reminded me that it should have been a “mob of rooks” in this poem…


  9. We have a colony of crows in our neighbourhood. I respect their intelligence but I haven’t warmed up to them, as they scare away all the other creatures I do love. The imagery in your rubaiyet is wonderful. I especially like “their feathers – scattered midnight flakes –
    their casual, skilful, human flight”.


  10. I’ve been watching rooks recently; you’ve captured them perfectly, Sarah, and not a tum-ti-tum among them! I love the ‘black cut-outs on a paper sky’ and ‘scattered midnight flakes’.


  11. Pingback: Rooks – pantoum for dVerse | Fmme writes poems

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s