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      for John Shinnors

Scarecrows grow scarce
since we no longer till fields.

Funereal figures
standing in the midst of harvest,

they flapped wildly in the wind
though never moved.

They wore the old clothes
of the dead men of the household

with sometimes a cap or a hat
which would often blow off.

Crossed staves in a field,
a home-made crucifixion,

or the gaunt autumnal brother
of the rotund snowman.


But I forgot the shrewdness
of the carrion crow. Before
the crop was gathered in
I swear I saw more than one
of those jagged black birds
happily settle on the arm
of that structure meant to warn.

John Montague

Speech Lessons
Wake Forest University Press

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