Just knowing he’s out there is enough.
A far-away bird flies with the black clouds.
Then a noise like no other you’ll ever hear:
a throat-singer from the steppes, a pig-snort,
a star-burst, a log-pile rolling, cork-drawing pops,
body-blow drums, horses’ hooves on a hard road.
This is sooo raven. He comes cronking over
to speak to you. He likes to toc the toc.
Anything with a vocal edge goes down well
with him. Prruk prruk. Krroak krronk.
Toc toc toc. Corvus corax corax. Corbie-
quirky breakbeats all the way, gruff barks.
The ravens are returning to Ravendean,
the black one roosts on White Craig,
new birds on the ancestral crag. He feeds
the young ravens who cry out to him.
The Roman augurs would be prophesying
with these cries of korp korp from his axe-bill.
He’s sporting his thunderhead today, sings
his raven-praise of storm-winds, flips over
till he flies upside-down, turns iridescent,
now beats his direct flight into the distant hills.
from The Cream of the Well: New and Selected Poems (Luath Press, 2014), © Valerie Gillies 2014, used by permission of the author.