Caroline Misner

The Dawn Raiders


Their shrieks shatter the intimacy of dawn,
the broken glass of morning:

cattails wedged in the sludge on shore,
the repentant offering their pithless souls
to white lapelled preachers, cleansing
their sins in the murky waters:
“Do you reject Satan and all his empty promises?”
Bending into the bog waters,
their baptism is complete.

Beyond, the bush, stiffened
by the cool numbness of night,
unfurls each limb, embraces by slow measures,
tastes the matutinal slips of light.

I piled seed there, in that alder
where a doll’s house dangles—
as a child I would have adored a toy like that.
Now its trough is so full, the amber beads
sprinkle like snow, are tramped into the ground,
a feast turned to famine.


Who knows where these crows live?
Each dawn they swoop like bombers, raid the house
of its bounty, jostling one another
with flaky coal black wings, bent like broken brooms,
black gleaming pearls for eyes.
Howling like witches, it’s a wonder they don’t topple
the birdfeeder from its branch.

The jays and chickadees watch, helpless,
from a safe jag of maple or ash
and wait for the murder to end its gory feast.


The mallards and mergansers feel entitled to their share,
skulking among the reeds, 
the dancing ladies festooned in green;
the flat lily pads float in teal mist.

Seed and insect are plentiful now;
there is nothing to squawk about.
The water is tepid, the fog mild;
the juice plumps the berry on the vine,
a blister filled with blood.

The emerging sun peels back the morning,
layer after layer, exposing its light reluctantly,
fading the moon, the sky’s silver claw.
In a few hours these raiders will be gone,
the final companions to the windless dawn.


Greetings one and all and welcome to my brand new website!  Please bear with me  portraitI work on filling its pages with news and musings. Being technologically challenged, it may take a while to work out some of the glitches and I hope to have it finished within the next few weeks.  In the meantime, please feel free to browse through the archives and have a look at some of my work.  I've been writing poetry ever since I could remember and I've decided to include a section of Juvenilia in the archives.  Most of the poems listed there were written in my early teens and many of them are just plain awful!  But a few gems do stand out and I hope you enjoy them.  Also, if you would like to know more about me and the work I do, please feel free to click on "About".  There I have posted a brief biography of myself.  I'm not trying to be falsely modest, but I really loathe bragging about myself.  I feel an author's work should stand on its own merits and where an author was born or where she lives or what she eats for breakfast are completely irrelevant.

I would also be remiss if I didn't included a big Thank You! to my oldest son, Kevin, who with a friend designed this website for me and programmed it so that even I could manage it.  And another big Thank You! goes to my dear father Jan Kurz, who was in on it the whole time and provided the stunning photography behind the text of the daily poem.  And another big Thank You! goes out to all the editors, publishers and fellow writers who have supported me and my work over the years and gave me a chance when I needed it, including a Journey Prize nomination and two Pushcart Prize nominations!

"...And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it and the imagination to improvise.  The worst enemy to creativity is self doubt."
--Sylvia Plath (1932-1963)