Birch and Crow

“It’s not all black and white,” shrugs Birch,

in the snowy dark.

“Oh yes it is,” sez Crow, “and more is black like me!

You’ll see…”

Birch rustles her papers like a schoolgirl

Crow messes around in the driveway

like a little boy with matches

cloud, snowflake, laundry on the line

Birch writes it all down,


she shakes her white limbs in triumph—

the world is VERY bright!

I dare you! squawks Crow hopping on one foot

unfazed by her words

his hairdo spit-polished

black ice!


footprints! he caws

I scavenge everywhere and see the World is Dark!

Let’s ask a better question—

Who’s the best Poet? she murmurs to him

I have to go ask my mother,

he flaps up creaking,

Crow is gone a long while.

In the stillness

Birch, perfects her stance, her steady yoga,

she waits, breathes, listens,

but she misses his voice.

at last Crow arrives breathless and happy, praising the air

What did you find out? tinkles Birch

covered with ice, striking a dazzling pose

I see poetry

from on high

I sing my messages

glyphs, bones and phonophores…

black/white, my mother sings,


see it change!

crows are black and birches white!

that much we already knew—Birch giggles,

Who’s the best poet?

As it starts to snow, in moonlight,

Birch makes a good case for being

the most beautiful poet

and Crow, a speck of denser darkness

is quiet a moment, stunned—oh

Every life casts a shadow

Every life is a light

that’s what Mom said.

Ah…bring her along next time….sighs Birch

Crow rambles on,

in the end

twilight catches you—

the shadows are like wolves—

Only a metaphor, chimes in Birch.

She shivers and flutters.

Who knows the most about poetry?

I make paper for the world’s poems

I hold voices of wind, of rock and rain, of time—

before paper

before ink

I knew black’s utterance on white’s breath

Are you the Poet then? asks Crow, for once with a whisper,

Who gathers voices day and night?

and are you the Poet? asks Birch flashing her bright grin,

Who sings the world back to itself?

Yes. Yes.

─ Lauren Murray

Belfast, Maine

The March Poetry Jam at Bell the Cat will be a special occasion celebrating International Women's Day and Women's History Month. Hosted by past Belfast Poet Laureate Karin Spitfire, readers are encouraged this month to bring works of women poets from all over the world — as well as their own — to celebrate Women's History and the lives and works of women. This all happens Friday, March 21, at Bell the Cat, signup at 6:30 p.m., readings start at 7 p.m. We have a poet's table, a fine crowd and delectable refreshments available, including beer and wine. Readers of all genders are welcome and so are musicians.

Poets Corner is curated by Ellen Sander, the Poet Laureate of Belfast, and open to submissions. Send submissions in the body of an email (not an attachment) to Feel free to use that email address to communicate any questions, requests, suggestions or issues about poetry in Belfast. Poet Laureate office hours continue Tuesdays at 1 p.m. in the Belfast Free Library third floor conference room, but will not occur on March 25.