Crow's Nerve Fails
Crow, feeling his brain slip,
Finds his every feather the fossil of a murder.
Who murdered all these?
These living dead, that root in his nerves and his blood
Till he is visibly black?
How can he fly from his feathers?
And why have they homed on him?
Is he the archive of their accusations?
Or their ghostly purpose, their pining vengeance?
Or their unforgiven prisoner?
He cannot be forgiven.
His prison is the earth. Clothed in his conviction,
Trying to remember his crimes
Heavily he flies.
Harper and Row, 1971