Friday, 22 February 2019

Under Darkness

He pecked out their eyes,

kept their unseeing as trophies.

And not only to his young prey,

he had a way of blinding the elders

with a feathered sheen. He hacked out

childish tongues so they couldn’t tell,

gouged out all ears until the unspoken

secrets were not heard. The harmless

scarecrows couldn’t protect his chosen prey.

Perched on high, he held a wide view

of the layout of the parish, could see

who was vulnerable, who wasn’t guarded,

who could be snatched up as fresh prey

right out from their open-doored homes.

The darkest in the roost all knew,

shared his caw, caw with each other,

passed around younger carrion as new prey.

They joined in with the murder of souls.

He talked of evil, as if it lay far removed

from his hovering deeds, never under

his cunning wing. They were “young friends”,

not prey. To say he damaged youths,

their vast fields of hope, to say

he tore the limbs of their spirits apart

was for him to eat wild crow.

To say he shadowed his innocent prey,

left their lives like a battlefield, was blocked.

Now he rests in his warm nest, surrounded

by comfort, far flown from his destruction.

And as the young grew into wounded adults

with horror perched unseen on their shoulders,

his claws continued to tear them asunder.

And when they could no longer fight off

swooping memories, who was there to pray?

© Denise Blake

Denise Blake’s third collection, Invocation was published by Revival Press, Limerick Writers Centre. She is a regular contributor to Sunday Miscellany RTE Radio 1. She facilitates creative writing workshops.