What are these jackdaws saying? I don’t know.
I need translations for the parts I hear.
The conversations of this smallest crow
come through my window loud and klaxon clear
but are more Greek than English to my ear.
These jackdaws lodge most seasons in the tower
of the giant church and grace the sunset hour
with flying squads whose aerial antics bring
them my applause, but now when blossoms flower
they nest as couples, celebrating Spring.
‘Let me spell it out in words,’ the jackdaw said.
‘F of X and F inverse of x are inverse functions
If and only if F inverse of F of x equals x
and F of F inverse of x equals x.’
‘Thank you,’ I answered and tried again
to sprinkle grains of salt upon his tale.
‘He will fly a monotonic logarithmic function,’
said the jackdaw on my left. The others laughed.
‘Before he takes off, better give him unction,’
said another. With a swooping flight she graphed
the dizzy fall she estimates I’ll fly
should I leave this roof where we are congregating.
At a signal that I miss, they swarm on high.
They look back to watch me follow. They’re still waiting.
The squirrel was demonstrating how to build up all logic gates just from NAND but the visiting pair of jackdaws wanted to move on and discuss Shelah’s classification of countable first-order theories. We did that for long enough (35 seconds) to see that none of us had any idea what we were talking about. The husband jackdaw noted that darkness was approaching and the wife jackdaw pointed out that negations, such as darkness, can’t ‘approach’ or in fact ‘do’ anything. I was wishing we had met outside instead of in my study, birds not being noted for being continent. The squirrel sensed my concern and asked, ‘Is that the cat behind the sofa?’ Both jackdaws flew out the window but they will be back at first light …
I follow thoughts that lead me to despair.
I take their hands and turn them. We head home.
They show me homes that are no longer there
if they ever were. Despair strips comfort bare.
Be rational, I think. That makes things worse.
At the end of time clear vision is a curse.
The jackdaw lands before me, caws my name.
It enquires why I am wasting hours moping.
‘You’re alive. Why are you kicking? You’re not lame
except in chances that you let escape by hoping
for a perfect world you are proof does not exist.’
I try to think things through. The jackdaw flies
before me. Wings beat on my dismal thoughts
until they are exposed for what they are.
I laugh and chase the morning and the bird.
Please click on photo to enlarge it enough to read its poem.