Sunday Stories: Counting Crows

A wee original poem—a meditation on sacred visitors and the nature of memory—as my heart, as it often does, pulls toward Ireland.


A murder of crows soars above the author’s home in Laguna Beach, California.

Onyx silhouettes alight in the gloaming,

shouting across the canyon, voices carried

on thermal zephyrs we’ve christened

for the Virgin Mary’s mother or

the Bringer of Light, depending on

your view of history and elision.

The Tishbite Elijah believed them

angelic visitors dispatched

from the Divine, a murder

that delivered his breakfast and

evening repast while he sheltered

in place between river and ravine.

Prophetic servants or harbingers

of scorched earth, they remember

faces and never forget a trespass

or trespasser. They assemble

at dusk, a grudging murmuration

awaiting its dawn deployment.

THIS is Jarrod McKenna (of walking-across-Ireland-with-Jarrod)

  • This is also Jarrod “Your Face Is A Substack” McKenna (in the middle) with me and our pal the brilliant Irish musician Fra Sands (of the trad folk group Na Leanai ) near Castleshane, Co. Armagh, on our border walk in November 2019.

  • Siobhan McSweeney’s terrific new travel program, Exploring Northern Ireland on Britain’s Channel 4, can be found HERE.

  • And ICYMI, you can find the whole snakebite story HERE.

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