One raven is for death,
And two magpies are for joy
But do two ravens herald my final breath,
As they stand on the chimney outside?
The elusive art of prophecy evades me still,
As they stand there in glossy and sable coats.
Must I obey their fierce will,
As they croak out my sentence in hoarse words?
Tell me, oh ravens of night,
What does a pair of you bring?
Nothing to cause me alarm or fright,
Or the dark cloud claiming me?
I fear you ravens as you stare in my room,
Now silent as I drift off to sleep.
Fly to your coven, and spare me from my doom,
Oh ye wicked ravens of starry night.
When I wake you’ll be atop your tower,
Feathers rustled by the breeze,
And I hope you won’t unleash your power
Against my weak mortal frame.
What are you, night-cloaked ravens,
That can bring so much pain?
Begone! Evil ravens,
Say farewell – do not return again.
I’ll see you ravens one more time,
But let it not be now.
I still long to see the sun’s bright shine,
And not flee to Hades’ shade.
When the time is right for me to pass,
Then we shall meet once more,
But for now let me not hear the blast
Of your hoarse and fatal beaks,
Until the time for me to leave is here
When I shall join you without fear.
Today I am trying out a rhyme scheme that I have not tried before, so I would be interested in any feedback you can give. I must confess that the sight that inspired this poem (Two black birds outside my window at a residential event for new undergraduates) was partly reliant on my foolish assumption that the black birds were ravens. They were, predictably, crows, but by then I’d had the idea, and I wanted to follow it through.
I hope that you enjoyed the poem,
The Hapless Neo-Romantic