Scarecrow Cross

Scarecrow, what now? Once in a long

I appreciated the diversion in the way this poem opens by posing a question to the scarecrow. As it becomes increasingly clear that the scarecrow itself will not talk back, we come to see it as more of an apparatus by which the speaker questions himself. – Kyle Austin, age 22

gone time, I stitched you thread by thread,
helped weave, across your wooden spine—
small thrush busy at a nest—a thatched cross
of arms, a tattered fashion of rags and rope
stolen from my father’s chest. Now, the last stalks
sway and shiver as I watch you wrecked from far away:

The stalks shivering set the violence of the following scene up well. – Patricia Schlutt, age 15

in low approach, the crows arrive; the seed thieves
dive and dive. The murder’s here. What now?
Two crows perch, one on each shoulder;
their talons here to unravel you. A dark caw,
a shred of feathers, one pecks the straw heart,

I like "a dark caw, a shred of feathers, one pecks at the straw heart, another claws the burlap face apart" the rhythm of these lines is perfect and very fresh and new. – Aubrey Frey, age 13

another claws the burlap face apart.
Should I pray? Should I turn away? Half stand

I like these questions, they seem very human to me. – Patricia Schlutt, age 15

in hungry shadows, half fly in famished light.

The narrator appears perplexed. Poem begins with a hint of nostalgia with the narrator recollecting how they had put the scarecrow together, then it shifts focus to the present as the crows shred and unravel the straw and rags and ropes of the scarecrow, then further on the poem’s shift is towards the near future with the narrator’s contemplation of action that has not yet been made, and perhaps it may not. This open-ended question is for the reader to consider, it’s an immediate invitation to participate in the poem. The narrator’s uncertain, almost skeptical, tone suggests a broken belief or the acknowledgement/realization of a world that is full of terror. - Zachary Tomaszewski, age 21
The ending line of this poem is unexpected, we are confronted with the uncertainty of the narrator who doesn’t know to pray or run away and the crows half standing in hungry shadows and half flying in famished light. The shadows are hungry yet the light is famished. – Rachel McGuinness, age 18
I like the way this poem moves from describing the hope and protection that a scarecrow once brought to a field of crops, to showing the creature’s age and demise, how it is discarded and useless. This gives the scarecrow life, and creates an almost human life-span for it, complete with its painful death. –Kara Madden, age 23
The contrasts in this poem, dark vs. light or day vs night and now vs then, all come full circle in this stanza. The scarecrow seems to represent a vivid memory from the speaker’s past, most likely his childhood, and the unraveling of it by the crows which the speaker cannot stop seems to speak to the difficulty of reconciling present and past, or of youth and adulthood. When confronted
with the disparity between these things the human response is often much like the speakers in the last two lines. We want to move on but we can’t seem to tear ourselves away - a beautifully fitting image.
- Kyle Austin, age 22


Robert Fanning, from The Seed Thieves (Marick Press, 2006

Through the 3rd Eye was supported in its inception by the Grand Rapids Humanities Council and is currently made possible by continued volunteer effort and private support. Copyright 2013.