Why do we hate the crow?

We hate the crow
heavy
every bit black bird
beady ugly eyes

stupid shuffling of wings
casual
hop out of the way of cars
that’s arrogance

eating carrion
we don’t like birds who eat dead things
or stuff out of bins
how disgusting

hate that loud, raucous call
grating our ears
like finger nails
on a chalkboard,
they take the short cut
across the river Styx
and with their message from Hades
slip into a subliminal
sniper vantage point

bloody smart-ass birds
too smart for their own good
you can’t kill them, you know
you’ll get in trouble with the law

if only it had a splash of red
somewhere on the feathers
like the stunning
red-tailed black cockatoo

yeah but, they don’t eat dead things

so it is about dead things.

38 thoughts on “Why do we hate the crow?

  1. Great poem, but hypocritical and judgemental!
    I eat dead animals too! Ha ha!

    GB, you have shone your perceptive light on a conundrum. We dislike crows but seem to approve of Currawongs and kookas, who steal baby birds from their nests!

    • Hahahaha. There’s dead meat and then there’s dead meat. This is why I wrote it so I could get some good feedback – thanks Stafford – you may eat dead animals (so do I) but you don’t eat rotten meat/carrion – Kookaburras are pretty and aren’t scavengers. The jury is out on Currawongs – I’ll need to do some research.

    • Thanks for commenting Crafty Green Poem. We could turn your question around and ask why do we like other humans, but in fact a lot of humans hate a lot of other humans, as well. That’s the thing about prejudice – it’s irrational and based on fear, fear of the unknown and fear of things that we perceive as different. I know that I would love a crow if I got to know it better, for instance, if I cared for an injured crow or young crow. They are quite beautiful really, with their glossy feathers and large wingspan and strong features.

  2. I actually love crows. They appeal to my Gothic side. They are very smart and very stylish in their glossy black. I think many people fear them due to a deep-rooted superstition surrounding dead things. A great poem!

    • You’ve hit the nail on the head Selma and that is pretty much what the poem is about – just an observation. I respect and love crows as well, though I can understand people’s fear of them (and the noise is a bit much – though we don’t get as many up here as we did in Brisbane) 🙂

  3. For once I am in total disagreement with you Gabe, and I am glad to not be alone, I agree with Selma.
    I love crows, I find them very assertive, beautiful deep blue black, very noisy (it is a cry not a beautiful perfect note) , very intelligent and also very useful, we do not appreciate scavenger but we need them.

    • Thanks Ben, if you read my note in the first comment you’ll see the ‘we’ is not necessarily ‘me’ ;)I find the blue black colour of feathers is amazing and that is the colour I wanted my hair as a teenager (and almost succeeded but it went dark green instead – haha) but there is a reason that ‘goths’ (as in the young peoples tribe) wear black from head to foot. Crows are super smart – there the only bird I don’t need to slow my car for. We’d miss the crow if he wasn’t around – they do a superb job cleaning up.

  4. I also like crows. There is a kind of nobility in them. Humans also eat dead things. Difference being, we kill them first. I’m interesting in your note, that you don’t mean yourself or your readers. Who do you mean? It’s a great poem, a really unique and very Australian voice, and a kind of harsh musicality to it, like the crow’s voice.

    • Thanks Paul. The crow eats things that are already dead – that’s the difference which I was talking about with Stafford (maybe I could make it clearer in the poem). I mean many Australians who I talk to (just do a straw poll) – myself and my readers are a minuscule fraction of the population and not representative that’s for sure (I would like to think we are a bit more discerning than the average Joe Blo) – haha.

  5. I am also a lover of crows… it’s voice, has such a distinct music, so much more so than many of the sounds that haunt us each day. Great to see such differing opinion about this beautiful black bird…

    • I love the crows voice in the distant plains filled with Eucalyptus trees – it’s a distinctive Australian sound – just not too close to the house in the early morning. I may write another poem on why I, and other sensitive people, love the crow 😉

  6. crows are awesome. they are a venerated symbol of life force in native american lore, very special unique creatures. they are considered to be wise spirits and encountering them is said to bring good fortune, as long as one pays them due respect. they are breathtaking in their size, strength and majesty, tho they do seem sometimes to be darkness personified. that is probably why there is so much prejudice around them. the poem is so evocative and spellbinding!

    • thanks for sharing the info on the native american lore(might do some research on the subject) ‘darkness personified’ sums it up. We have a lot of dead kangaroos around my village (roadkill) so the crows have a good feed – which is great, otherwise the carcasses would be there for ages. I’ll get some photos if I can.

  7. Just found this on Wikipidea:

    ‘crows, and especially ravens, often feature in European legends or mythology as portents or harbingers of doom or death, because of their dark plumage, unnerving calls, and tendency to eat carrion (including those of humans). They are commonly thought to circle above scenes of death such as battles.

    In occult circles, distinctions are sometimes made between crows and ravens. In mythology and folklore as a whole, crows tend to be symbolic more of the spiritual aspect of death, or the transition of the spirit into the afterlife, whereas ravens tend more often to be associated with the negative (physical) aspect of death.’

      • Very interesting Benedicte. Generally the Aboriginal people of Australia also venerate the crow and consider the crow or Raven to be a spiritual messenger from the dreamtime, a sacred bird who leads people to safety if they are lost, and that they carry the spirits of their ancestors. I think a lot of the attitude has to do with a persons attitude to death – if one denies death then by necessity the subconcious will transfer the denial onto an external object, in this case the black bird and fear and hatred is the result (just an idea – will look at it further). If a culture can celebrate aspects of death than fear is reduced.

  8. I think this is one of my favourite things here.
    The subject and the tone.
    I absolutely love how you ended each stanza like it was kind of a casual conversation.The shortcut bit is awesome!

    You can kill all the crows you want here only you won’t kill too many because they are very smart.
    If the scout sends them to an unsafe place the survivors will kill him.

    I have stood on a creek bank at the break of day and watched a murder chase an owl screaming and pecking at him,flying and manuvering with wild abandon.

    I must stop. Crows are fascinating. I love this poem.

    The red wing black bird is my favourite bird.

    peace

    • I often get conversations stuck in my head, so why not use them in poetry – hahaha! I’m so glad you loved it, I was beginning to think I hit a raw nerve with some crow lovers. That poor owl – I wouldn’t want to watch that. peace 🙂

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    • Hi 47whitebuffalo and thanks for stopping by. Scavengers/ carrion eaters do a fantastic job and ‘clean up crew’ sums it up. The poem is certainly getting people thinking, which is part of my job description I like to believe. The crow vocalisations are very complex and they have local dialects which goes to show just how intelligent these birds are – they can even copy human speech like some parrots do. Even if some people don’t like the crow, you would have to respect the bird.

  10. I’m a fan of crows too – such feathers, but I do find their arrogance a little annoying! Fantastically captured, Gabrielle – really love the tone to this one.

    And ‘The Birds’ changed things for me. Now I think about those beaks – powerful & deadly looking things.

    • Thanks Ashley. It’s a scary, weird movie but I love that stuff. It’s got me thinking about birds that attack like magpies – nothing worse than getting a beak poke on your head from a very fast angry bird.

      • Yeah! Hitch is easily one of my favourite directors. And yeah, magpies are grumpy sorts, they should relax. It’s not like I’m secretly planning to climb their tree and harvest their eggs. I’m only walking by.

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  12. If it wasn’t for the crows, think how much worse the fly problem would be! 🙂 (can’t say I am too fond of them either, though). You have captured perfectly the insouciance of these ratbags. bb

    • Haha – you sound like Stephen Fry bluebee. But again I have to say – I love the crow – these are merely expressions I have heard a thousand times from those around me in the land of Aus!

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