From the Mouths of Babes

Here's a poem from one of my teenage students. Better than 90% of what I've been writing these days. I'll leave it exactly as she wrote it, random capitalization, spotty punctuation and all.


'Bove the City

Midwinter, the crows take
the high road to the city
To the graveyard
The home of too many

The black birds soar in circles
above the stones and holes
As the sky bleeds a dark purple
They search for vengeance


Wow. Just wow. Keep in mind this poet is 17 or so. Note the gorgeous ambiguity that the lack of punctuation affords the reader. Is the graveyard descriptive of the city, or are the crows taking the high road to the city and then to the graveyard? Is the last line its own sentence, a final punch about the birds' motives? Or does their search somehow relate in time or cause to the sky's bleeding? I also like the subtle separation of "black" and "birds." This is more than likely a handwriting typo. Nonetheless, it allows for such expansive interpretations that I like it as is. I wish I could take credit for anything she does well in this poem, but I can't. Her raw talent needs all the credit it deserves.


  1. Jeebus, she is extremely talented.

    Loved your observations of her piece and insights into what her words/ phrases could mean.

  2. Wow. I love the crows taking "the high road" and yet out for vengeance. Crows, road, home, stones, holes .... o o o o o.

  3. i assume that's you, mr. koelz. yes she's definitely more talented than she realizes. didn't notice those o's. makes me think of pinsky's "the want bone," with the worn shark jaws forever mouthing o, for desire.


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