CROW AND AUDEN by John Lindley
A misprint in a newspaper reported: ‘Auden stepped from the train and was greeted by a small but enthusiastic crow.’
‘Hmm,’ Auden thought when first he saw
the bird, as train came to a stop,
‘I’ll make this image mine before
some Yorkshire upstart snaps it up.’
He drew a notebook from his mac’,
unclipped a biro from his tweed,
stared at the crow, the crow stared back
then recognising him indeed
began to stun the platform crowd,
began to flap, began to sing,
and the poet wrote about its loud
and flattering beak, applauding wings.
Reporters, fans all stood amazed.
It seemed as if all clocks had stopped.
Only Auden stood unfazed.
Only his chin hadn’t dropped.
He pulled a Woodbine from its pack,
pulled out a match and struck a light,
stared at the crow, the crow stared back.
The night mail train pulled into sight.