part of the "Seems Like Old Times" EP
AND listen on
It is hard to ignore the gregarious crows in my neighborhood. Then I was intrigued as to why a flock of crows came to be referred to collectively and eerily as a murder. Finally, I learned that there are ages-old superstitions about these big black birds – some ominous but some propitious. And all of that got stirred together.
© Steven E. Cutts, 2021
recorded and edited by Jim Robeson, winter 2022
Steve, guitar and vocal
Cathy Fink, banjo
Kimber Ludiker, fiddle
Marcy Marxer, mandolin and resonator guitar
Jim Robeson, bass
A murder of crows in the middle of the day
high up in the branches jabbering away
like bullies on a corner casually throwing shade,
snickering and cocky, completely unafraid.
But, here I am presuming that their noise is ridicule;
perhaps they’re being gentlemen instead of being cruel.
A murder of crows strutting ‘cross the yard
swaggering as they patrol their private boulevard.
Muscular but streamlined with an iridescent sheen
showing off a silhouette that’s lean . . . but is it mean?
There’s no deadly dagger that is hidden ‘neath their wing;
assassination’s never been their thing.
It is best to see a murder than just a single crow;
what one bird alone portends you may not want to know,
while two or more together will bring fortune to your door.
I’m telling you: be sure you wish for more when counting crows.
One crow sorrow; two crows mirth;
three foretells a wedding; and four might mean a birth.
Four-and-twenty blackbirds got baked into a pie;
I’m not sure what sort of luck that dish would signify.
A murder of crows sorting through the trash,
scavengers extraordinaire, dying for a snack
leaving no small mess behind; you’d think they’re being rude,
but maybe these birds demonstrate a better use of food
‘cause they can make a killing from all we toss aside.
They’re crowing about the morsels they have spied.