Poetry by Angela Patten

Read More: A brief interview with Angela Patten


“It is said that crows, like other corvids, recognize themselves in mirrors and this is thought to show intelligence.” (Scientific American)

The last light of a winter’s day—
thousands of winged forms
flap past my windows—pins
pulled by a powerful magnet.

The sky is black with crows
crying in cracked voices of their plans
to steal what is left of the light,
to gather their feathered shapes
into a solid-color jigsaw puzzle
of land and lake and sky
that will click into place only
when the last bird flies
into its jagged aperture
and darkness falls.

Like the crows, my father
showed up night after night
to take his place in an ancient ritual.
To play his fiddle, not by standing out
but by fitting in with the other men,
those dark-suited bus drivers and conductors
who brought to the session
all their quirks and oddities—
Mr. Ward with his head thrown back,
the accordion at rest on his round belly—
Mr. Keogh with his albino eyes,
long fingers sawing the fiddle—
and young Tony in short trousers
tootling away on the tin whistle.

Now my father too is part of that
collective darkness, the puzzle
that the crows remake each night.
That dawn, like a wayward child,
scatters joyfully each morning.




In Norse mythology the twin ravens,
Thought and Memory, flew about
the world, collecting news for Odin
who had given them the gift of speech.

Did they work together as a team—
one forward-thinking, looking out for
bloody rumor, thin whisper, foul-smelling allegation—
while the other mouthed words and phrases, […]

Subscribers can read the full version by logging in.
Not a subscriber? Sequestrum is a pay-what-you-can journal:
Our rates are variable so that everyone can enjoy outstanding literature.
Access this and all publications (and submit for free).

Subscribe Today


Angela Patten’s most recent poetry collection, In Praise of Usefulness, was published by Wind Ridge Books (Vermont) in 2014. Two previous collections, Reliquaries and Still Listening, were published by Salmon Poetry (Ireland). A prose memoir, High Tea at a Low Table: Stories from an Irish Childhood, was also published by Wind Ridge Books in 2013. Patten’s work has appeared in several anthologies and in many literary journals such as Nimrod International Journal, Poetry Ireland, The Literary Review, Prairie Schooner, Michigan Quarterly Review, and also Crosswinds Poetry Journal. She is the 2016 winner of the Cape Cod Cultural Center national poetry contest and earned an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Patten was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland and now lives in Burlington, Vermont, where she is a Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Vermont.

Read More: A brief interview with Angela Patten