Crows: A Poem by S Joseph

Wheatfield with Crows by Vicent van Gogh. Oil on Canvas. 1890
Wheat field with Crows by Vnicent van Gogh. Oil on Canvas. 1890

At the daybreak

Beneath the flowering sizzling tree

Two crows are gathering twigs

Testing the strength they collect

It one by one and take it on to the tree

Where it is fixed


This is the time for

The crows to mate and nest

Summer as intense as lust

And misty till the night fades

Beckon the hinterlands, bogs and bushes

Tiny creatures and little snails


How many crow-nests are here in this village!

Like a scratchy- sketchy pencil drawing

Counted some eight or ten

Do the calls of the Koel skirt those nests?

Do the snakes creep up the trees to swallow the eggs?

Some sprinkles on the naps of midnight

When all showers merge it becomes a big rain

When all summers fuse it becomes a crucible

Where the two meet the yam, elephant-yam and ginger

Sprout into tender buds

Igret a digi sketch by ajay sekher. 2011.
Egret, flamenco or crows a digi sketch by ajay sekher. 2011.


It is a weird time

A down to earth life has become obsolete

The earth has lost its human folks

Desolate and lonely

Burned out by love or lust

I follow the crows

I watched them drinking water and bathing

Remembered the skies from where they came back to the roost

Picked up the tiny black stones the crow-pots from the sandy riverbed

Gathered the crow-feathers together

Wandered in search of their roosts

Listened to a little kid singing:

“O my crow, O my crow, do you have a chick?”

I am returning

I have a hideout in the bamboo reeds

Everything is sheltered there

Some chill and a swing made of wild creepers

A bed of leaves spread out

The owl and the Koel and the serpent crested

Are there in

Mostly I would be amidst them

And occasionally comes out in human attire.


S Joseph and Ajay Sekher with his new English anthology My Sister's Bible (New Delhi: Author Press, 2016).
S Joseph and Ajay Sekher with Joseph’s new English anthology My Sister’s Bible (New Delhi: Author Press, 2016).


  (Translated by Ajay Sekher from Malayalam)

S Joseph is a leading poet in Malayalam. He teaches Malayalam at Maharaja’s College Ernakulam. He has published many anthologies of poetry and is a prominent figure in dalit writing in Kerala. He may be reached at +919846687101;