2018 Spring Contest Winner: 3rd Place, New Poets

Crow Proprietors

by Judy Richardson


Before eight in the morning

there is only myself in the park

and a dozen crows near the trail,

another thirty or so in the distance.

I like how sometimes a group

of them will burst like benign buckshot

from one tree to another, at last

settling in tiers on an oak, then

making a racket; how they will drop

to the ground afterwards and realign

themselves, close family members



I read once that when a crow dies,

its family forms a line, each member

stepping up to the body in silence.

They like to know what happened,

if there’s a lesson to be learned. No

lesson here, even a Frisbee won’t catch

crows off guard, and in the morning

they strut across the wide grass

like proprietors, the sun making

black jewels of their feathers.




Judge’s comments

The poems in the “New Poet” category were impressive and explored a wide array of themes. I enjoyed reading each and every one, especially in this category. I have a special place in my heart for new poets, because we all have to start somewhere. The third-prize poem “Crow Properties” is a wonderful nature poem and sustained my interest through each and every line. It opens our eyes to our complicated relationship with grief and our outer world.

—Connie Post




Judy Richardson grew up in the Midwest but has lived in Eugene since 1967. She received an MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 1971 but now writes mostly poetry. She teaches memoir writing at Lane Community College.

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