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Picture 12935111, Ohara Koson, 1915, image copyright Mary Evans / Pictures Now Collection

Cemetery crow
by Jill Sharp


She squats on a headstone shouting blue murder.

12Jumps to an angel’s wing, its fallen head

face-down in moss, hosting a bed of grubs.


All one to her, the living and the dead –

12columns and obelisks, garlanded crosses.

Here she can feast in peace.


Best place for humankind is underground,

12dumb beneath their drab memorials:

fallen asleep, reunited,


dreaming a life beyond the clouds.

12She’s been there. Her kin hung out to dry,

nailed over doors.


At ease on a war grave’s milk-white stone

12she’s an honest bugler. No waiting out

the bleak midwinter. She lives it.


Has raised her broods, seen off

12red kites adrift from their road-kill pickings,

landfill gulls trying their luck.


A man brings flowers. She flies ahead

12so he’s the one who follows.

Her anthem, sung from a lime’s bare bough,

sounds to him like laughing.



© Jill Sharp, published in the Keats-Shelley Review, April 2021

Picture 12935111, Ohara Koson, 1915, image copyright Mary Evans / Pictures Now Collection



Jill Sharp has worked as a tutor with the Open University and has also taught excluded teenagers. Her poetry has been published in many magazines including Acumen, Envoi, The Frogmore Papers, The Interpreter’s House, Mslexia, Prole, Poetry Salzburg Review, Stand, and Under the Radar. Her work has also appeared in various anthologies, most recently Pale Fire (Frogmore Press) and Contemporary Gothic Verse (Emma Press), as well as online at And Other Poems and Ink, Sweat and Tears. Her pamphlet Ye gods was published by Indigo Dreams (2015), and she was one of six poets in Vindication, an anthology from Arachne Press (2018). Her poem ‘Cemetery crow’ was placed joint-second in the 2020 Keats-Shelley Prize. Jill was a founder member of Swindon’s BlueGate Poets, and she has run regular writing workshops at the Richard Jefferies Museum at Coate.


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