Will Gatti & Daniel Finn


A murmur of starlings; a kindness of crows

That sounds a bit Game of Thrones to me but there’s not a Stark in sight, nor a great wall , nor a wildling, just an old dog.

This is it.

The old dog lowered himself on a patch of warm, sunlit ground on the green road, a lane-way down to the sea. The day was still. A small bird chat chatted from the gorse and then darted up into the air flighting down the lane a little way, landing on a post. The dog heard his name being called but his bones felt heavy and he stayed where he was.

Overhead, there was a shifting pattern of darkness, wavering, breaking apart, coming together, coming down, lower and lower, as if to fold over him, like the blanket that was sometimes laid over him these nights. He could hear a rushing of wind through feather and a different scent on the salt and heather air. His eyes, still clear, looked up, watching as the starlings sky-danced for him.

A bee sounded. Zig-zagged in front of his nose, touching the gorse and back, nuzzling the heather bank.

And then a large black crow landed, bouncing a little.  (Aren’t crows always large and black? But then maybe this one was a little larger than other crows and with a dash of night in his black feathers). It hunched its shoulders, as if shrugging, tipped its head sideways and eyed the old dog. Its eyes black and bright. They looked at each other like that for a moment and then the crow hopped forward. The dog’s old ribs heaved up and down. The ground pulled at him. Something like a sigh escaped from his closed mouth. He felt the bird’s no weight on his back and its muttered croak, that sounded like a question; and then hazed in among all the other sounds, them calling his name again. His eyes closed.