Laurie Klein Reads Resume & Elementary
Editor’s Note: “Poems to Listen By” is an audio series where over time we will explore some of the themes in the Poet Laura checklist, as well as Tweetspeak’s “Perspective” theme throughout 2022.
Poems to Listen By: Black Bird Soirée—Elementary
Presented by Laurie Klein
Welcome to “Poems to Listen By.” I’m your host, Laurie Klein, here to launch our new series: “Black Bird Soirée.”
Picture with me a virtual villa, at twilight: fireflies, sweet and salty hors d’oeuvres, intriguing beverages, and kindred spirits, all of us gathered near French doors opened to birdsong. No matter the actual hour you listen, we’ll sample the quirks and charisma of crows and starlings, blackbirds, magpies and ravens—and those who watch them.
Crows are one of our planet’s brightest species, the cognitive equals of apes and dolphins. Poet Megan Willome, using the acrostic C.R.O.W.S., created a witty curriculum vitae.
Convoke in ancient trees.
Ride pigs for kicks.
Opine while looping on the breeze.
War with straws and sticks.
Slide down snowy banks. Never say please.
Sledding? Actually, yes: in Russia, crows have been filmed coasting down roofs on plastic lids and body-sledding on those golden onion domes.
Opportunist crows are also acutely attuned to time. Near Puget Sound, Washington, they synchronize meal prep with local ferry schedules. During the half hour before the boat docks, they drop clams in the open lane. After disembarking vehicles crush the shells, the birds feast on the meat, to the amusement of those in the boarding lane.
In the next poem, a few of Megan’s crows flaunt their early schooling.
We crows, we all attend crow school
and follow different crow-style rules.
Take field trips to the parking lots
and dare the cars to take our spots.
In music class we sing off-key,
our voices cawing lustily.
During math we count our stash
and show each trinket with panache.
We preen ourselves and call it art,
parading before the mini-mart.
And for our test, we have to swipe
a treasure fine, metallic and bright.
You’ve just heard “Resume” and “Elementary,” by Megan Willome. I’m Laurie Klein. Thanks for listening.
Photo by Kasturi Roy on Unsplash. Audio and script by Laurie Klein. Musical performance, recording, and mastering, by Bill Klein. “Resume” and “Elementary” by Megan Willome, from Rainbow Crow: Poems In and Out of Form, T.S. Poetry Press. Used by permission.
Browse more children’s poetry
“Megan Willome has captured the essence of crow in this delightful children’s collection. Not only do the poems introduce the reader to the unusual habits and nature of this bird, but also different forms of poetry as well.”
—Michelle Ortega, poet and children’s speech pathologist
- Poems to Listen By: Black Bird Soirée—10: Goodnight Crow - July 12, 2023
- Poems to Listen By: Black Bird Soirée—09: Let Grief Be - June 28, 2023
- Poems to Listen By: Black Bird Soirée—08: Graveside - June 14, 2023