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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

Epiphany Davis, 1825

I set up my cash box and my bones and cards
on Broadway, most days, offering what I see
of what’s to come. For a donation, words
fall from my mouth, surprising even me.

Uncle Epiphany doesn’t forecast death
or illness worse than gout or a broken bone.
The sailors stop. They
poem
Which reminds me of another knock-on-wood
memory. I was cycling with a male friend,
through a small midwestern town. We came to a 4-way
stop and stopped, chatting. As we started again,
a rusty old pick-up truck, ignoring the stop sign, 
hurricaned past scant inches from our front wheels.
My partner called, "Hey
poem

Reverend Walter Peters, All Angels’ Church, November 18, 1849

Someone has died, who will never see the black
joylight expand in her mother’s blue eyes.
Who will never grasp a pinky, nor be danced
up, down and around and lullabied all night.
Someone who will never come to realize
that her Dada’s