In Defence of the Raven

And it came to pass at the end of forty days that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made: and sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth. Also he sent forth a dove.

Genesis Ch. 8 v. 6-8


It did not leave at once. For two hours

Or more it perched on the ark,

Eyeing the waves and the slanting horizon:

A dark witness under storm clouds.


Nor, when it finally left, did it go lightly.

At first, unsure of direction, it flew

Without grace. An equivocation of wings,

A mere inch above drowning water.


By all means cherish the dove. It returned

Loyally with good news in its beak.

So make it your icon on banners of peace

And hang them over the warring cities.


But, at night, as you try to sleep, remember

Far horizons, black holes, exploded nova stars;

Remember the curved edge of God’s

Incommensurable mind - where the raven flies.


These are some of the finest poems written by any poet of Peter Abbs’ generation...Peter Abbs is one of the few poets whose work is not ‘promise but hard-won, well-earned maturity. I have the greatest respect for his fine achievement.

-Kathleen Raine in Resurgence

Abbs is a poet of the new paradigm, a poet who uses the myths of the Greeks and Romans not merely as a postmodernist twitch or to give weight to personal trivia but as an awakening to a new view of reality and to the earth itself. Abbs’ effort is one of reparation or rescue – the rescue of the person, the rescue of imagination. The stunning collection, Personae, in which a multitude of masks, from history, from actual personage to mythic figures, becomes a means of reconfiguring a new heaven.

-Rebecca Seiferle in The Drunken Boat