The common raven

Joan Concilio |

As part of the 2014 YorkArts Writer’s Eye competition, I wrote a piece based on a painting titled Light Pouring Down by artist Linda Sommer. Later, local artist Missi McLaren Ritter painted a work based on this poem for a HIVE Artspace exhibit. It’s like playing telephone with art and words.


She sits down heavy on the stained and faded sofa
Open windows usher in the comfortable sound of rain
But also the chill of wet city November

So she gathers her threadbare quilts around her
Like a raven gathering battered bark and wool
Scavenging a nest out of whatever’s left

The bright bits and the dull ones woven together
Hoping, in so doing, to hide from her fledglings
That their home is built
From finer people’s castoffs

“Look, I patched your blanket,” she murmurs
Tucking a skinny little girl, face streaked with dirt, under one wing
And beckoning the others to huddle nearer
“You found pink!” a tiny voice replies

Clutching a small fleece spot, much cleaner than what’s around it
As if unable to believe that anyone
With the means to possess such fabric
Would ever give it up

The raven sighs and rests her eyes
Just for a minute
Welcoming the light
Between the rivulets of rain