RAVEN EYE: Sun Stealer
They say you stole the sun.
This is inexact.
You hid the light in darkness
where the light-killers could not find it
so the sun could shine brighter than before.
They say you are black
because you are evil and unkind.
They do not say you swallowed
your own shadow and mastered it
at the price of wearing its colors.
Shivering, they call you death-knell,
Death-eater, bad omen, flying banshee
because you feed on death that feeds on men.
You strip what rots from what remains.
You give us the purity of the bones.
Trickster, they call you.
Oh yes, you'll do your wickedest
to ensure our way is never routine
and we are forced to improvise and transform.
You won't let us swap our souls for a plan.
At least they don't accuse you
of minor crimes.
I praise and claim your gifts
of putting on darkness to come and go safely
in the darkest places, joking with Death.
COMMENT: The kindness of ravens. Our collective noun for a group of crows is "murder". The word for a group of ravens is even crueler; those who know it speak of an "unkindness" of ravens. Yet I have found the raven to be an impeccable ally in seeing into dark places, and in training frequent flyers in the arts of the dream seer, I often call in the ravenous eye. Be it noted that in working with Raven this way, it is vastly desirable to call in a pair, as Odin knew when he sent off his twin ravens, Thought and Memory, to scout for him. I wrote this poem for Raven at the end of a marvelous adventure in group shamanic journeying, when many of us were able to see true with the help of raven eyes.
Drawing by RM. Acknowledgments to Bernd Heinrich who showed me how to depict a raven fluffing out its feathers in a display in his marvelous book Ravens in Winter.
This tribute to Raven is included in my collection of poems and stories, Here, Everything Is Dreaming, published by Exclesior Editions, an imprint of State University of New York Press.