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.

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  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?

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  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.

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  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!

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  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’ 🙂💖

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  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.

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  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.

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  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?

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    • 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…

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  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”.

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  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’.

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

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