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About this Poem 

“The tree is an allusion to a poem by Rilke; the musing wonders whether it’s possible to have Gaia consciousness. I was watching crows eat the holiday leftovers I’d tossed out onto the snow. They really liked the coconut macaroons.”
—Marilyn Nelson

Crows

What if to taste and see, to notice things,
to stand each is up against emptiness
for a moment or an eternity—
images collected in consciousness
like a tree alone on the horizon—
is the main reason we’re on the planet.
The food’s here of the first crow to arrive,
numbers two and three at a safe distance,
then approaching the hand-created taste
of leftover coconut macaroons.
The instant sparks in the earth’s awareness.

Copyright © 2016 by Marilyn Nelson. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 4, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2016 by Marilyn Nelson. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 4, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Marilyn Nelson

Marilyn Nelson

Born in 1946, Marilyn Nelson is the author of over eight books of poetry, as well as many collections of verse for children and young adults. She currently serves as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

by this poet

poem
It's the ragged source of memory,
a tarpaper-shingled bungalow
whose floors tilt toward the porch,
whose back yard ends abruptly
in a weedy ravine. Nothing special:
a chain of three bedrooms
and a long side porch turned parlor
where my great-grandfather, Pomp, smoked
every evening over the news,
a long sunny
poem

Joseph and Margaret Cavanaugh, ca. 1847

There’s Bridget and Michael and Catherine and Ann,
there’s Francis X., Moira, Theresa, and Sean:
none of them shivering, everyone fed,
head to feet sleeping, four butts to a bed.

 

The 1845 Irish potato crop failure resulted in widespread

poem
Thank you for these tiny
particles of ocean salt,
pearl-necklace viruses,
winged protozoans:
for the infinite,
intricate shapes
of submicroscopic
living things.

For algae spores
and fungus spores,
bonded by vital
mutual genetic cooperation,
spreading their
inseparable lives
from equator to pole.

My hand, my