Pavilion V on the UVA Lawn
Lifetime Learning

Corvidae Madrigal

April is National Poetry Month, and Lifetime Learning is pleased to celebrate the talents of UVA faculty. Enjoy our April poetry series!

Lisa Russ Spaar is a professor and director of Creative Writing and director of the Area Program in Poetry Writing in the Department of English in the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences at the University of Virginia. Her poetry collections include Vanitas, RoughSatin Cash; Blue Venus; and her forthcoming workMadrigalia: New and Selected Poems (Persea Books, 2021). Spaar has edited several anthologies and books of essays, including the recent Monticello in Mind: Fifty Contemporary Poems on Jefferson.



A scrutiny, a scolding, in ruffian row,
this dive-bombing murder of crows.

Crow from the Italian cornice—a jutting—
outcome of Grecian korōnís,

crooked, as in hawk beak, all those Medieval
plague doctors hurrying in hook-nosed masks,

bearing clove-stuck oranges
against disaster’s miasmic stench.

How not see the COVID in CORVID?
But also, in both, the poet Ovid,

exiled until death for “a poem and a mistake,”
transformations, the tongue-cut nightingale,

flesh creeping into bark, winged bruises emitting
crawl, crawl.   Until we must believe it.

…………………………………….(c) Lisa Russ Spaar, 2021


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The Thoughts From the Lawn (TFTL) blog is published by Lifetime Learning at the University of Virginia’s (UVA) Office of Engagement. This platform features UVA faculty and staff articles for the benefit of UVA’s alumni, parents, and friends. The views expressed in TFTL blog posts reflect the views of the authors and not those of Lifetime Learning. Lifetime Learning reviews the content and links in each article before publication; however, we take no responsibility for inaccurate information and/or links that lead to post-publication, unintended sites. Lifetime Learning is not responsible and will not be held liable for blog comments and reserves the right to remove malicious or mean-spirited responses.

Illustration by Deirdre Barrett,


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