Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Crow as Image

As I began working on my cycle of poems about Adam and Eve the crow appeared. His appearance was not benign. In fact, the power of the image was so strong that I felt the crow taking over. It was also at this time that I discovered Ted Hughes' collection of poems entitled Crow, an event that I considered synchronistic in nature and effect. As I read through this collection, I will be discussing the poems.

The crow has always been important to me and for many years I thought of the crow as my totem. In alchemical terms, the crow is associated with the nigredo, the first stage of the great work that leads to the philosopher’s stone. The nigredo is black in color and symbolizes “putrefaction.” The Hermitis Trismegisti Tractatus Aureus describes the initial stage of death and dissolution, the preamble to the great work, as follows: “the First is the Corvus, the Crow or the Raven, which from its blackness is said to be the beginning of the Art.” In the first stage, “the old body of the metal or matter for the Stone is dissolved and putrefied into the first matter of creation, the prima material, so that it may be regenerated and cast into a new form.” Lyndy Abraham, A Dictionary of Alchemical Imagery, Cambridge University Press 1998.

Additionally, the crow in Amerindian mythology is sometimes a trickster, a demiurge or a god; in oriental mythology the crow stands for the yin, the feminine; in Norse mythology the crow is guide and companion of Odin; and in the Old Testament, Noah sends out the crow as scout before sending the dove.

Even our old friend Hermes is associated with the crow because it is the crow who reports to Apollo Hermes' theft of the cattle. See earlier posts on Hermes and Apollo.

The crows appear in my latest Adam and Eve poem-"The Plan."

The Plan

She was sore,
rubbed raw by pumice stone,
and pink from red water.
Crow feathers floated down stream
toward a blacker sea.
He lay beside her,
inert, unaware of her mission,
his mouth open,
snoring in the shade of the fir tree.
Yellow butterflies left pollen traces
on his ruddy brow
and ants crawled across his feet.
She compared the red lion
under the baobab tree
servicing his six females
with him
and judged him puny,
with only one mate.
As he slept, she hatched her plan
to make him powerful and rich.
She lowered herself onto him,
suspecting this was the way,
after watching the bison,
the monkeys,
and the eels mate,
after seeing the crows locked together
free fall through the white clouds,
and after listening to the angels gossip.
They fit;
she rocked like the limbs of the fir
swaying in the southerly wind
until he popped
like an oyster
in her salty mouth.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Now I am understanding more about 'Crows' and the use of.