Greedy rogues and undertakers, graveyard birds and thieves;
thus maligned along with other crows,
and all unfairly,
to me these rooks are wise in myth and fact,
riding the tall-tree sky beyond my window,
waking up the spring with their clamorous building.
In windy blue or misty distance,
both rude and shy, stern and friendly,
bred for an ancient England and still timeless,
they mark our seasons with an earthy song:
ground bass for sweeter flutings,
counterpoint to changing centuries.
Born into bare twigs,
they rise and fall above lush green tree-tops,
gilded with high sunshine, gleaming like autumn fruit;
transcendent, divine brightness in their eyes and strong with life,
they will caw us into winter too,
through another spring and into summers richer still than this,
perhaps with golden light more pure upon the black,
and music more glorious than any we have heard.