for Daniel

Your first word is crow.
Kwoh, kwoh, kwoh spilling
from gourd of belly to small mouth
and out, sounding a dark octave in air.

You meet yourself in nameless squawk
and others, seen in trees
or gliding in straight flight,
compact, hooded, sleek.

The bow of your throat sends notes flying
as you caw your first song of love,
singing the strangeness of you, of them,
nape silver, swathes of indigo

until black letters fall and you call raven,
rook, jackdaw, chough to the cave of your voice.
And they come, ragged pall-bearers,
despised peddlers of sorrow.