Crows on a Telegraph Wire

by T.S. Kerrigan

Church of the Assumption,
Collooney, County Sligo


We saw that score of shabby pilgrims pass,
Then settle down along the wire,
The day you came to drag me off to mass.

We heard they huddled there through half that day,
A flock of twenty crows or more
That neither wind nor rain could drive away.

I wondered through the chants of morning prayer,
While others sought salvation’s themes,
What forces drew that dark assemblage there,

As though some intercession, heaven sent,
Now stirred within their fragile bones,
To make that flock of creatures reverent.

The grey-eyed priest declared there’d been a sign,
A symbol of enduring faith,
Those crows were man, that Babel, the divine.


We’d knelt on stone as cold as this in youth,
To pray as only children pray
Who think they hear the urgent chime of truth.

Were we two just pretending even then,
Those seasons of our innocence,
We’d seen the light Augustine promised men?

We ought to have a length of wire to powers
Above that move invisibly,
A rope to scale the top of heaven’s towers.

With troubled mankind left to scrape and plod,
To emulate the faith of crows,
We need, perhaps, a telegram from God.



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