NaPoWriMo Poem #27: Raven

Revel in the rising day
and in the dawn of the dark. You are
voracious, you trickster, an
empty diamond mine that wants its children back. There is
no doubt that you stole the sun,

no doubt that you were the thief
in my father’s house. These days, I light
candles to burn the dark cloak
off my back. Our tongues like crisp wood,
looking for the water that you stole. And there are
even holes in the walls,

ragged and rotten-edged like
a dead man’s mouth, where the stars and moon used to hang. By your
very own brand of medicine, you enter my head and
even wrap my dreams around your body like I would
never know it was you. How else do my dreams have feathers and

need to fly? You of the firebrand, burnt beak,
incorrigible lust flame that lit up my womb. See our child – he is a
coal-colored spirit, now grown up and stealing
opal and crystal from the eyes of his
lovers. Just like you. You purple star, you black-feathered libertine. Yet
even so, I still await your thievery with an open door.

Written 4/27/10
© 2010 Nicole Nicholson. All Rights Reserved.

This poem is #27 written for NaPoWriMo 2010 and was written for NaPoWriMo #27: Let Someone Else Take the Lead over at Read Write Poem. We were invited to write an acrostic poem, taking some element of ourselves. This is a persona poem in the voice of the Sun Chief’s daughter. She addresses Raven, a trickster and sometimes creator deity in the lore of some Pacific Northwest tribes. I hope you enjoyed it. My (lengthy) process notes are in the first comment of this post.


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About ravenswingpoetry

I am a 38 year old writer from Columbus, OH and the creator of Raven's Wing Poetry. I am a poet, seeker, fellow traveler, and autistic.
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8 Responses to NaPoWriMo Poem #27: Raven

  1. Process Notes: I started with the word “raven”, since I’ve adopted the raven as my totem animal. When I ran out of lines, I chose my first name — Nicole. As I wanted to carry out the whole story, I ended up with four stanzas, alternating “raven” and “nicole” as the starting letters of each line in each stanza.

    I tapped into a lot of “raven” things for this poem. First, I borrowed a good deal from the raven tales from various First People tribes, namely those of the Pacific Northwest. The legends say that Raven, a trickster deity, stole the sun from the lodge of either the Sun Chief or Grey Eagle. In some versions, he also steals the moon, the stars, fresh water, and a firebrand, all of which hang on the walls of the lodge. He sets the sun, moon, and stars in the sky, dumps the water onto earth, and drops the firebrand onto the rocks — now mankind has light, water, and fire.

    How does he do it? Depends on who you talk to. In every story, the daughter of the Sun Chief or Grey Eagle is involved. In some versions, Raven falls in love with her while in the form of a man and commits his thievery after being invited to the lodge. In others, he changes into a pine needle, which is floating in water than she eventually drinks. She then gives birth to a son (Raven in disguise), who demands the box that the Sun is kept in from his doting grandfather…and once he has it, he flies off with it.

    Secondly, I noticed that in some tribes, he is regarded as both trickster and creator, and a sexual energy is associated with him. Also, it is said that there is a raven medicine that allows those who have it to exhibit extreme empathy and understanding to the point of where they can enter the minds of other people. Those elements informed this poem too.


  2. Marie says:

    Gorgeous. You fit both names in seamlessly. Really great!

  3. This is so very cool. I love how you worked in both names twice and not a single line seemed force. The language is beautiful, the story flows . . . I think this is my favorite of the day!

  4. joannejohns says:

    Fascinating mythology, you’ve captured it really well.

  5. pamela says:

    Beautifully done Nicole.

  6. James says:

    Wow. I love it. The raven legends are so wonderful—right up there with coyote stories in my mind 🙂

    I just read Mind of the Raven by Bern Heindrich, a fascinating read about his investigations into raven intelligence and the hunting symbiosis between ravens, wolves and humans. You might enjoy it if you haven’t read it.

  7. James says:

    Sorry, that should be “Bernd Heinrich”

  8. If only I had a quarter for each time I came to Great writing.

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