When Raven sang among the constellations,
fathers plucked their newborns,
red with birthblood,
from between their mothers’ thighs,
saying: "He is already dying"
to fool the messengers of death.
My father did not see me
till the day after I was born;
did not hold me wrapped and diapered
till the day after that.
What is it about our men:
they cannot contain chaos,
they dare not trick the angels,
fearing to trade their own short lives
for the life of a newborn child.
About the Author: Jane Yolen is the multi-award-winning author of over two hundred books for adults, adolescents, and children, including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and folktale collections. Her most recent book of poetry is The Radiation Sonnets.
"When Raven Sang" copyright © 1994 by Jane Yolen. The poem was first published in Peregrine Magazine, and reprinted in Uncommonplaces, edited by Judith Kerman and Don Riggs (Mayapple Press, 2000). It