Scarecrow Sings the High Lonesome



Scarecrow Sings the High Lonesome

Nothing about me shines or sparkles. If asked,
I would place myself among the discarded —
remnant cloth and straw, worn, inedible,
useless, if not for packaging intended to
convey a certain message, which I of course
have subverted to “Welcome, corvids!” Even
my voice lies stranded in the refuse, silent
yet harmonious, clear yet strangled, whole
and unheard, dispersed, like tiny drops of
vapor listing above the ocean’s swell, enduring
gray skies and gulls and those solemn rocks
bearing their weight against the white crush.
Why do I persist? What tethers a shadow
to its body? How do we hear by implication
what isn’t there? Bill Monroe hammered
his mandolin, chopping chords, muting,
droning, banging out incomplete minors
to expectant ears, constructing more than
a ladder of notes climbing past the rafters
into the smoky sky. What I sing is not
heard but implied: the high lonesome, blue
and old-time, repealed. Crushed limestone
underfoot. Stolen names, borrowed sounds.
Dark words subsumed by light, yellowed,
whitened, faded to obscurity, to obscenity.


“Scarecrow Sings the High Lonesome” first appeared in Crannóg, in June 2017.


10 thoughts on “Scarecrow Sings the High Lonesome

  1. So love your Scarecrow poems!
    Do you think if I created a scarecrow similar to this image (strikes me as highly approachable!) that the ravens who sometimes cross my lot might visit more often? Might come sit on padded shoulders and add a few high lonesome notes of their own?

    Liked by 1 person

      • In 2003 Gary introduced me to ravens down where the Pecos runs into the Rio Grande and again in NM … assuring me they never came to Austin. But one day in 2018 I heard the distinctive call, went out and stared at a raven in my live oak. The last couple of years there has been a nest a couple of blocks from us and we were blessed with brief visits. I suspect our ponds are a draw. I’ve gotten a couple of decent photos. And a Gary confirmation when they interrupted his nap one day. Never more than 2 at once. Recent winter lows may have them changing their where-to-nest parameters.
        Perhaps my imagination, but seems to me ravens are more curious about humans than crows – the ones in NM seem to enjoy engaging human interaction. The crows I’ve been near seem preoccupied with one another.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.