He Tells Me I Cannot Love the Raven #SampleSunday

When I lose someone I love, I remember this poem, adding the new name in my heart. This piece appeared in the Southern Indiana Writers’ 2006 anthology, BEASTLY TALES.

He Tells Me I Cannot Love the Raven

by Marian Allen

It’s ugly — ill-disposed — a scavenger —
haunter of graveyards, heartless, ghastly, grim,
unlovable, he says, it cannot love
me back, nor any other living thing.

He thinks I have some kindly bird in mind —
a trickster, spirit guide or Gothic prop —
He says I’m too upbeat to comprehend
the raven in his heart. This much is true.

I only know my own: Bitter and bleak,
oblivious to honor, grand design
or noble sacrifice, he doesn’t soar
above the carnage life leaves in its wake.

He perches on a corpse and tears its flesh.
This eye is dark. This mother’s son is meat.
“This one,” he caws, “and this one, and, one day,
‘this one’ will be you, cold beneath my claws.”

Violet, Mildred, Kenneth, Hazel, George,
Ruby — the list gets longer by the year
of those who’ve left me paralyzed with loss —
I see them in the glitter of his eye.

He feeds on mortality. In him, death is life.
Both are a moving banquet, a great feast
where death knell rhymes and chimes with dinner bell.
This is my raven, and I love him well.

A WRITING PROMPT BASED ON MY POST: What unexpected thing comforts your main character after a loss?



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “He Tells Me I Cannot Love the Raven #SampleSunday

  1. joey

    January 14, 2018 at 11:24am

    I had to click love and sad, because although this has playful turns and charming lines, “He says I’m too upbeat to comprehend
    the raven in his heart,” your grief comes through loud and clear.

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  2. Pat

    January 14, 2018 at 2:00pm

    Wow, Marian. I’m a stranger to most poetry, but your aching seeps through and makes me ache a little, too. I love it.

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply

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