Online internet courses by Call of the Page

Are you interested in a Call of the Page course? We run courses on haiku; tanka; tanka stories/prose; haibun; shahai; and other genres.

Please email Karen or Alan at our joint email address:
We will let you know more about these courses.

Call of the Page (Alan & Karen)

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Dark News - the story of crows and how a simple haiku poem touched people in a good way

Yosa Buson(1716 - 1784) 与謝蕪村

The haiku poem in question:

dark news
the comfort
of crows

Alan Summers
Publication Credit: tiny words 15.1 (March 31st 2015)

The haiku became the title of this collaborative eChapbook!
The Comfort of Crows 
Hifsa Ashraf and Alan Summers 

(Velvet Dusk Publishing, December 2019)

From Autumn Noelle Hall 
(Colorado, USA):

Dear Alan,

I just wanted to touch base and tell you that your crow haiku held special meaning for my favorite Aunt and I.  My Uncle passed away last August after battling MDS (a blood disorder wherein the bone marrow stops producing mature cells).  Crows were his favorite birds, a sort of totem animal, if you will.  Since he died, my Aunt has had crows come to her and caw at her in the times she most needed to feel the comfort of her husband's spirit with her.  Yesterday, I sent her your haiku, along with its link, and she was incredibly moved by it.  

Her response:  "How perfect is this haiku!!!"  

It is one thing to be able to touch hundreds of haiku poets around the world; after all, we are familiar with the form and able to connote various meanings from its microscopic distillation.  It is something entirely different when that same small form is able to make so large an impact on someone like my Aunt, who is not exactly an aficionado.

Thank you for adding a special page to her crow journal and for bringing some small comfort into her day.


Permission was granted to reproduce the email correspondence.

Dear Alan,

Please pardon my delayed response!  I wanted to first call my Aunt to share your lovely e-mail with her and also ask her if she'd be ok with your posting my e-mail comments on your blog.  She was very touched by everything you wrote and amazed that so much kind awareness and compassion could come to her from a perfect stranger all the way across the ocean.  

I told her that is what I love so much about haiku poets, and that you are among the very best, in that regard especially.  She and I are both okay with your posting any comments you wish, and anonymity is not at all a concern.

The story behind your crow haiku is pretty amazing!  I'm so sorry that you were so ill--and very grateful you have recovered!!  But what an amazing thing, to be looked after by a crow like that...

I share your and my Uncle's love of corvids and consider the Raven a totem animal myself.  In American Indian culture, Raven is the light-bringer who gave man fire; he was originally white, but his feather were scorched black when he stole fire from the sun.  

In studying and observing crows and ravens, I have learned what remarkable, intelligent birds they are and what beautiful societies they inhabit.  Rather than a Darwinist survival of the fittest, crows and ravens live via mutual aid.  If one locates a carcass, it will recruit as many others as it can to share in the bounty.  

This generosity in turn secures the host's chances of being invited to share in the future meals of his kin.  There is even sharing and recruiting amongst and between other corvid species!  I think that is beautiful, and very in keeping with the "give-away" tradition seen across American Indian cultures.  

Can you imagine the world we might live in if we materialistic, individualistic white folks could figure out how to adopt and live by those same principles....?

In my meditation practice, I have had many visions in which Raven has taught me something or taken me on some journey.  

Once, just before I finally divorced my first husband (after 20 years and 2 kids together), I had a vision in which I stood at the edge of an incredible rock precipice.  I knew I had to jump, and I understood that I would die if I did.  But somehow, I found the courage in the vision to jump anyway.  

As soon as I began to fall, the wind rushing past my face, my outreached arms turned to wings, and I was transformed into a raven.  I found myself soaring to even greater heights, far above that same cliff.  

I learned that sometimes we have to die to parts of ourself, or parts of our life, in order to be reborn into a higher form of ourselves.  Which seems an important sentiment to remember on Good Friday...

I am so glad I got to share you and your wonderful work with my Aunt.  I believe special people should know about one another's existence in this world!  She thanks you again from the bottom of her heart for adding to the spirit of her Crow journal.

Warmest wishes and blessings for a beautiful Spring,


My sincerest and heartfelt thanks to Autumn and Autumn's favorite Aunt! 


A response from the tinywords page by a highly respected haiku poetry writer:

I read this first thing this morning and it has been with me all day. 

An excellent example of the sheer power that can be captured in the tiniest of poems. 

It is haiku like this one that drew me into the haiku world, and it is haiku like this one that keeps me here, yearning to write . . . haiku like this one.  

Billie Wilson, Alaska USA

Alan Summers
Call of the Page


Maureen said...

This is brilliant Alan
Maureen Sudlow

Area 17 said...

Thank you!

It's amazing how a poem comes alive when people react in such a proactive way. :-)

warm regards,


Supani said...

nice one!

Bill said...

Beautiful poem, and a beautiful experience. Thanks for sharing it.

Bill said...

doing what I'm told
again I prove I'm not
a robot

Area 17 said...

Thank you Supani, and Bill!

Yes. blogspot decided to do a robot, but then it does reduce the strange weblink to various products. :-)

Thanks for liking the poem, it's very much appreciated.

warm regards,



I have to prove I'm not a robot on my own blog, so you are not alone. :-)

isabella kramer - veredit said...

Such a wonderful and heartwarming interaction is one of the best things a writer can receive. So well deserved, your gorgeous poetry touches the whole world, Alan!


I'm not sure, am I a robot? What would you say?

Area 17 said...

Thanks Isabella,

Many thanks for your comment!!!

I wonder who is a robot nowadays, I guess I can always check with Asimov!