Three times the crow has cawed
At the window baleful eyes fixed
On mine, wings slightly raised
In sinister poise, body tense
And neck craned like a nagging woman’s
Filling the room with voice and presence
Three times I got the message,
Sleep-walking on the air of thought
With muddy clothes and floated down,
concerned for all created things,
To cope with the visitor,
Whose terms would compromise my own.
All day I waited, as befits
The folk belief that following
The crow a visitor would come,
An angel in disguise, perhaps
Or else temptation in unlikely shape
To test my promises, ruin my sleep.
It was not like that at all,
His hands were empty, his need :
Only to kill a little time.
Between his good intentions
and my sympathy, the cigarette smoke
was more substantial than our talk.
I see how wrong I was
Not to foresee precisely this :
Outside the miracles of mind,
The figure in the carpet blazing,
Ebb-flow of sex and the seasons,
The ordinaries of most events.