Thursday Fun: Crows and Ravens

This is what you need to remember when dealing with crows:

One for sorrow, two for mirth,
Three for a wedding, four for a birth,
Five for silver, six for gold,
Seven for a secret not to be told.
Eight for heaven, nine for hell,
And ten for the devil’s own self.

We Merry Sisters chose the crow as our Internet Avatar (so to speak) for several reasons:

~They’re cool!
~They exist between life and death in many cultures
~They’re curious
~They’re tricksters and storytellers
~They’re bloodthirsty carrion eaters and occasionally responsible for Death
~They’re connected to awesome death gods (Odin, The Morrigan, Bran the Blessed)
~They have a lot of cool poems and folk songs. HERE, have another:

There were three ravens sat on a tree,
downe a downe, hay downe, hay downe,
There were three ravens sat on a tree,
with a downe,
There were three ravens sat on a tree,
They were as blacke as they might be.
With a downe, derrie, derrie, derrie, downe, downe.
The one of them said to his mate,
Where shall we our breakfast take?
Downe in yonder greene field,
There lies a Knight slain under his shield,
His hounds they lie downe at his feete,
So well they can their Master keepe,
His Hawkes they flie so eagerly by,
There’s no fowle dare him come nie
Downe there comes a fallow Doe,
As great with yong as she might goe,
She lift up his bloudy head,
And kist his wounds that were so red,
She got him up upon her backe,
And carried him to earthen lake,
She buried him before the prime,
She was dead her self ere even-song time.
God send every gentleman,
Such hawkes, such hounds, and such a Leman.

And finally, they’ve inspired much mythology and literature. My personal favorites are The Life and Songs of the Crow, by Ted Hughes.

For example:


“Well,” said Crow, “What first?”
God, exhausted with Creation, snored.
“Which way?” said Crow, “Which way first?”
God’s shoulder was the mountain on which Crow sat.
“Come,” said Crow, “Let’s discuss the situation.”
God lay, agape, a great carcass.

Crow tore off a mouthful and swallowed.

“Will this cipher divulge itself to digestion
Under hearing beyond understanding?”

(That was the first jest.)

Yet, it’s true, he suddenly felt much stronger.

Crow, the hierophant, humped, impenetrable.

Half-illumined. Speechless.




God tried to teach Crow how to talk.
“Love,” said God. “Say, Love.”
Crow gaped, and the white shark crashed into the sea
And went rolling downwards, discovering its own depth.

“No, no,” said God. “Say Love. Now try it. Love.”
Crow gaped, and a bluefly, a tsetse, a mosquito
Zoomed out and down
To their sundry flesh-pots.

“A final try,” said God. “Now, Love.”
Crow convulsed, gaped, retched and
Man’s bodiless prodigious head
Bulbed out onto the earth, with swivelling eyes,
Jabbering protest —

And Crow retched again, before God could stop him.
And woman’s vulva dropped over man’s neck and tightened.
The two struggled together on the grass.
God struggled to part them, cursed, wept —

Crow flew guiltily off.

7 thoughts on “Thursday Fun: Crows and Ravens

  1. ‘And woman’s vulva dropped over man’s neck and tightened.’ Uhmmm? Gulp! Looks over shoulder. Crows are outside shhhh.

  2. Ok – I know a different version (slightly):
    One is sorrow and two for joy
    Three, a girl, and four, a boy
    Five is silver and six for gold,
    And seven’s a secret that’s not to be told.

    Anyway. 🙂
    I have a cool book on ravens and crows…

  3. Yes – I’ll have to fish it out for you next time you’re over. Which should be soon so we can watch the Pan’s Labyrinth extras. 🙂

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