This Work Is Done

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This is an old feeling,

standing by this evening’s field,

these dark rags hanging, strung on wire,

beaks silent and unmoving under a stretched sky.


So which lore or gods apply?

Would it help to free your feathers,

wake thought and memory in cold skulls,

wear a black cape in silhouetted brotherhood?


Should I take up your work?

Am I a familiar to a Norse god,

with spying eyes in new watching brief;

become his ears in Midgard?


Should I kneel before an ancient King?

Does a messiah hang in this unkindness?

Have I witnessed the end of hope

for an ancient island people?


Should I fly the field, proclaim the news,

take up your role of fate carrier,

become the Mór-Ríoghain’s latest messenger

and find a song that sings of coming conflict?


Or is the battle already lost, our colours down,

and what’s required this late spring evening is

to take my knapsack, flask and tools

and tell the farmer this work is done?


Picture credit: Sevilla (wikicommons)


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Martin Elder

Sun 21st Apr 2019 14:48

This is a beautifully crafted poem Jonathan with the juxta position between the old and the new.
nice one

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Jonathan Humble

Sat 20th Apr 2019 22:06

I simply see it as a one way conversation between the dead raven and its nemesis, the farm worker (albeit one well-versed in ancient lore and somewhat anguished by the work he has just completed).

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keith jeffries

Sat 20th Apr 2019 17:59


I am intrigued by this poem as it filled with mythical significance yet moves from the past to the present day, "or is the battle lost, our colours down". Is this the ancient harbinger of fate and war in the here and now as we face uncertainty and defeat or a prophetic voice of warning and our impotence". I am entranced by this poem but cannot let my imagination take off.

As ever, well done
Thank you

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