This was just a crow

I’m always in awe of Carver and what he accomplishes in 12 lines or less. And while the crow “never fit in anywhere in its life,/or did anything worth mentioning,” it gave us this fleeting moment with the speaker, and equally, ourselves as readers experiencing the poem. Thanks for this post, Anthony.

Anthony Wilson


My Crow

A crow flew into the tree outside my window.
It was not Ted Hughes’s crow, or Galway’s crow.
Or Frost’s, Pasternak’s, or Lorca’s crow.
Or one of Homer’s crows, stuffed with gore,
after the battle. This was just a crow.
That never fit in anywhere in its life,
or did anything worth mentioning.
It sat there on the branch for a few minutes.
Then picked up and flew beautifully
out of my life.

Raymond Carver

I first came across this poem sometime in the late 80s. I had devoured Fires: Essays, Poems, Stories (Picador, 1986) and was making busy with everything else of Carver’s I could get my hands on.

‘My Crow’ comes from In a Marine Light (Picador, 1998), Carver’s first full-length collection of poems to be published in Britain, drawing on the US collections Where Water Comes Together with Other Water and Ultramarine.


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