The Crow Song

When I was able to learn about birds, I collated a book on birds. As I had spent my youth on farmland, I was aware of many birds but until then, I hadn’t observed any of them with care. This book project gave me an opportunity to learn about them in detail.

A bird I studied then was the crow. Not a day passes without us encountering a crow. It is omnipresent and very approachable. But in general, people do not have a good opinion about them. It is a bird that has learnt to co-exist with humans and helps us a lot too. Like the saying “familiarity breeds contempt”, we do not care much for crows and they are taken for granted due to their proximity.

When I was at Singapore, I had looked around for crows. There were many birds, but I couldn’t find a crow. I was surprised that there was a place that did not have crows! When I enquired, I was told that crows would be shot dead if seen. I was surprised to see a country that did not have crows and was reminded of a line from Kannadasan’s “Kaakkai Illa Cheemaiyile” (A place abroad, with no crows). I wrote this song with my memory from Singapore in mind. Earlier, I had written a song for children earlier about the crow. This song is an enhanced version of that.

— Perumal Murugan


Have you seen, Have you seen
A bird like the crow
Have you seen, Have you seen


So approachable and so friendly
Soars all around with no worry


It comes down to the places where we live
It comes down to those places
Displays closeness, it demonstrates friendship – with us
Displays closeness, it demonstrates friendship
Inky blackness are its wings

Slender neck, to see us, it swings
Caws and caws, it caws and caws – with the graceful
Song of the crow, the world, it calls