Cawk

One of them chuckles, teeth barely showing,
jaws tight as if guarding unspoken secrets
buried in the throat, while the other throws
back her head and chortles, mouth open
to the heavens as though urging every luminary
to brilliance unseen by spirits of the day;

A stilted gait belies the expansive soul within
the first and the loose-hipped one knows,
provoking by example, not taking life so seriously
after all, it’s okay to meander off-course,
the divergent path of Frost’s two
while a trail opens wild before her
unlike alien glass doors in cities imbued
with roundabout redundancy, not pondering
or questioning why and how
while laughter rings again and is not hollow
but full and deeply throated like the gutteral cry
of ravens relaying messages across the pinons.

 

~ photo of pinons taken with 110 Instamatic film when we lived in the high desert of New Mexico, 1991

 

 

25 comments on “Cawk”

  1. Who could not love another who might laugh like that? I sometimes think seeing another laugh can be like them casting aside their mask, and revealing who they are. Although related, I don’t feel at all the same at seeing another cry. Is sorrow more one-dimensional than joyfulness? I’ll have to think about that.

    P.S. Forgive my neurosis, Bela – typo in second line of second stanza. H ❤

    • Oh, my gosh – thanks for the correction – wow, I’m fairly neurotic, myself when it comes to spotting errors in the written word. I usually comb over a piece several times before posting. And I likewise often read it aloud to Chris as well, but probably just glossed over the second ‘the.’ ;0) Mahalo.

      Haha, well, yes, I find unrestrained laughter contagious and always feel a bit sorry for those who, like the old Japanese women here, laugh behind their hand, literally or metaphorically. Sorrow, on the other hand, keeps reminding one that it’s all temporary, and maybe we feel that aching loss of joy’s expression gnawing at our toes. We are immensely fortunate to experience our senses in a physical way with other manifest aspects of ourselves who appear as ‘other,’ and we don’t know if anything beyond this life will satisfy. And maybe it’s that we become enraptured with our own reflection in others, and when they leave us, we ache. Surely you have further thoughts on the subject?

      Ohhh, Hariod, life is so short, is it not? Wow, we are here and then gone, gone! Chris and I were just talking about this last night – we are always in the midst of our projects, be they building or landscape design or gardening or planning (I’m an interior designer, he a building contractor and we both love working to restore sad old structures and weed-choked landscapes) – and I was laughing, saying, well, what next ‘after this’ – and that one day it all will come to a halt, one of us will be gone from this life, so why do we do what we do? The earth will take it all back one day, anyhow. And his stoic response was, “It’s just what we do while we’re here.”

      We create beauty, and what else is more satisfying? So why not throw one’s head back and laugh at the sky?

      Love! ❤ ❤ ❤

  2. I have always laughed loudly whenever there is stimuli albeit I have always been told to laugh like a lady…i could never pay heed to such an advice as some emotions surge out spontaneously and I could never suppress them. The loud giggles of adolescence still hold a precious charm for me but I have learnt to control the darker emotions, struggling alone to detach from those moments, sharing some of them only with my dear husband, my most trusted confidant.
    I don’t think it is right to meander though life is replete with such paths…I could encourage many but never could take the risk! Many blessings for a very thought-provoking poem. 🙂

    • Balroop, I am thrilled to hear it. For those of us with undue suffering in our pasts to finally pull free from the ‘ladylike’ mandates of our parents’ generation and then marry well? It’s amazingly gratifying, and I am genuinely happy for you. And you remind me of the outrageous humor of adolescents – I loved my teenaged girls and teenagers in general, despite the challenges of parenting them, and have fond memories of laughing ourselves into fits over silly little trifling things. Whoever claimed laughter as the best medicine was not wrong, in my opinion.
      As for the darker emotions, for me they used to come out sideways in sarcasm and criticism, often aimed at myself. But always – always I would write. And poetry has ever been the perfect vehicle for me to express these complex emotions. Nowadays my poetry is easier for others to understand, albeit sometimes with a little effort required 😉 Back then, it was obtuse and often obscure, but oh, so satisfying to pen down to the page.
      Many blessings back to you, dear one. Glad we are connected ❤

      • Yes! Laughter is indeed the best medicine and poetry ‘a spontaneous overflow of emotions’…I am glad we can seek catharsis in this natural manner. Stay blessed dear friend 🙂

    • Perhaps those who attempt to hush the true expression of emotions by another… have absolutely no knowledge of the sound of a “real” lady’s laugh. Those who cannot enjoy the honest laugh of another, may never have laughed at all. Laugh… It’s a beautiful sound.

      • Michael, thanks for weighing in – always good to see you here. Yes, I do believe there are those who have, as you put it, ‘never laughed at all.’ Sad, that. My longest career was in counseling people (30+ years). Just when I thought I’d heard the most sad or atrocious story of someone’s life, it would be trumped by another. And while I’m empathic and do feel for those who cannot cut loose and enjoy a roaring belly laugh, it doesn’t prevent me from doing the same. Nothing better than laughing so hard I’m afraid I’ll pee my pants 😉 Blessings.

  3. You know, I’ve always thought of many birds like ravens and eagles making a “cawk” sound. Maybe this is why you named your poem this way…

    The way I read your poem, it sounds like it can be used to describe anyone and anything who has feelings. Could be a person, could be an animal. I love that imagery of throwing back one’s head and having a good, big laugh. It through laughing big we get to experienced true joy and get to feel the world laughing at us. Even momentarily.

    I agree that it is certainly okay to meander off course, be it in the way we make decisions in our lives or wandering through nature. For the former, there is no guessing what valuable lessons we may learn by doing the unexpected. For the latter, allowing ourselves to randomly explore nature we get to see the true beauty of the world around us. Ravens laughing in a pack…that reminds me of laughing wholeheartedly with friends. And that reminds me – usually the best moments are shared with others 🙂 Great write, loved reading.

    • Yes, you are correct on why I named my poem the way I did 😉 Ravens telegraph across the trees when danger is near – you can hear one ‘cawking’ – then more distantly another – then another, and so on. It’s quite something to witness this on the desert. They are, like me, solitary in nature but concerned with their ilk and possess a collective awareness that alerts others as to ‘conditions up ahead.’

      I love how you interpreted the poem to describe animals as well, although I’m not sure their emotions get as confused and clouded as human beings’ – do they possess emotions? Sometimes a dog’s eyes sure do appear that way, but I do believe they are far less complicated, that way.

      Anyhow, Mabel, thanks for the read – it’s a delight to have your comments on my blog. Thank you! Aloha. ❤

      • It sounds like ravens like to call out to each other – and it sounds like a chain reaction. Always starts with one and their cawks don’t stop until everyone has heard the message. Perhaps maybe the cawks can go on for a while when there are many of them around 🙂

        Humans are indeed complicated. So many feelings to deal with, and so many stresses to put up with where we live. Maybe animals do have it simpler 😀

  4. “A stilted gait belies the expansive soul within” — choice words! 🙂

  5. Very clever birds but I have seen them do some things that are not very nice. They like to tease the small hawks here and will even dive bomb an eagle. Their idea of fun, I suppose. Love what you have done here.

    • Renee, thanks for reading and for your kind complement. You know, my father hated ravens. They stole eggs from nests outside his kitchen window and, as I recall, might have eaten baby birds, as well. But I am a big fan of nature’s raptors, as they keep the balance. We can either look upon their acts as cruel or necessary, depending. Back during Mao’s “Cultural Revolution,” he ordered every sparrow killed because sparrows ate grain seeds. 30 million people died of starvation as a result of famines that ensued (that, and his brutality). I know we generally don’t view sparrows as harmful, but this is just an example of upsetting what nature has put in place for a reason. I love those black birds, their sharp eyes and amazing way of communicating with one another. ‘Studied’ them a lot in New Mexico where it was easy to spot them telegraphing my motions to one another. Pretty cool 😉 ❤

  6. Hi Bela 💛 This poem so reminded me of myself and my girlfriend. 🙂 I love your ability to tell a story…complete…in words that I believe are chosen with the utmost accuracy for the exact meaning you are trying to convey! I also find the rhythm of your words add to the story…and I think that is a beautiful talent 🙂 Thanks for sharing from your soul, Bella 💜💜

    • Aloha Lorrie, happy my words illuminate fond memories for you. Thanks for your kind compliment vis a vis my poetry. It is the poet’s quest, I think, to snip and cut a body of work back to only essentials – a fine practice for one perhaps unnecessarily wordy in conversation. I’m always floundering for the right way to express meaning so as not to be misconstrued, whereas in writing I find it easy to sit with and revisit until editing is mostly complete. I wonder if any writer is happy with a ‘final edit,’ for there is ever something to add or to remove 😉 Have a lovely end to your week, dear Lorrie! 🙂 ❤

  7. Love the craw of Ravens and Crows.. Beautiful photo and poetic verse Bela.. I grew up amid the crows early morning craws as they nested above our house.. A Rookery was also not far away too.. They too make a heck of a squawk.. 🙂

    • Thank you, dear Sue. I, too grew up with crows (and ravens) and they always amused me. My dad hated ravens as they stole eggs from nests and sometimes killed baby birds, but I have tremendous respect for the raptors. Nature’s clean-up crew always has a job cut out for them! Aloha, Sue – enjoy your day! ❤

      • Yes without the scavengers to clear up all of nature there would be heaps of decay everywhere.. You hardly ever see a dead bird do you, only road kills.. Nature is pretty neat in her clean up jobs.. xxx

  8. beautiful poetry
    — 110 instamatic wasn’t that a cassette of some sort …


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