Welcome to the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour! #RRBC #RWISA–Mary Adler @MAAdlerWrites

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I have studied and observed crows for years, and the more I’ve learned about them, the more I admire their complex family and flock relationships. They are intelligent, create and use tools, and they teach their skills to other crows. As Rev. Henry Ward Beecher said, “If men had wings and bore black feathers, few of them would be clever enough to be crows.”

Over the years, I have told my family and friends more than they ever wanted to know about crows. One person said, after hearing the stories I told about them, that she stopped trying to run crows down with her car. (There is so much wrong with that statement, that I don’t know where to begin.)

During the non-nesting period of the year, crows gather at night to roost together, sometimes in flocks of thousands. They are stealthy and take a roundabout way to the roosting place. They have good reason to be wary. For decades, humans have killed them, even dynamiting their roosting places at night.

Like many natural creatures, they are good and bad, depending on your viewpoint, and not everyone appreciates their beauty. But I love to watch them streaming across the sky–one small group after another–as they return from foraging to join the flock. When they are together, those who have found a safe source of food will tell the others where it is. They share, but only within their own flock.

One evening, after watching them move across the sky, I wrote this:


Black Notes Beat

Black notes beat

Unfurling dusk

Across the bruising sky.


Quarter notes, half notes

Rise and fall.

Whole notes

Rest on treetops.


An arpeggio of eighth notes

Silently swirls,

Scribing a nocturne

in the fading light.


Softly they spill

to the nighttime roost:






Now the still moment,

the last note fading,

No bows, no curtsies,

No fear of reviews.


They need no applause to perform their works.


Mary Adler


“SHADOWED BY DEATH”  by Mary Adler
San Francisco, 1944. Sophia Nirenska, a Polish resistance fighter who survived the Warsaw ghetto uprising, finds safety in California until someone tries to kill her. She insists political enemies want to silence her, but homicide detective Oliver Wright, on medical leave from the Marines, believes the motive is more personal. He and his German shepherd, Harley, try to protect Sophia, but she insists on doing things her own way—a dangerous decision.

Oliver guards Sophia as they travel from an Italian cafe in Richmond to communist chicken farmers in Petaluma where her impetuous actions put them both in mortal danger.

When Oliver rescues a girl and her dog who are running for their lives, he discovers the dark secret at the heart of the threat to Sophia, a secret with its roots in Poland. When he does, he is forced to choose between enforcing the law as he knows it and jeopardizing Sophia or accepting a rougher kind of justice.

Shadowed by Death accurately portrays the fears and troubles of the communities of northern California as they bear the burdens of World War II and celebrate the gift of finding family among strangers.  

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33 thoughts on “Welcome to the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour! #RRBC #RWISA–Mary Adler @MAAdlerWrites”

    1. I was excited to have you and your musical poem here today, Mary. Always good to swim with the dolphins and fly with the birds!

  1. If you do it properly, it is possible to call these birds and have them answer. They are very intelligent, however, so it’s tricky. Love the poetry, Mary. Thanks for sharing, Denise.

    1. Mark, I have heard crows making their soft mating calls and watched a crow present a twig to another crow as part of the mating ritual. People think they are squawkers, but they also have beautiful liquid throat sounds and many vocalizations that tell of danger. Thank you for your comment.

    1. Yes, you don’t see too many poems about them for sure Jacqui! Yes quit a busy blog hop and I believe it only half way through.

    2. Thank you, Jacqui. I do have a few others 😉 and have thought about putting them together in a book. It is indeed a busy blog hop! The best part is meeting new people and continuing conversations with old friends.

  2. Hi Mary. You created an interesting poem to celebrate the crows. That in itself is interesting.

    1. Thanks, Shirley. I read once, “You pay attention to the things you love, and you love the things you pay attention to.” Sort of interesting.

    1. They are fascinating birds. I always crack up when they mimic our dogs. Happy to Karen:)

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