The willfulness of words

How are we to say what we see in the crow’s flight? It is not enough to say that the crow flies purposefully, or heavily, or rowingly, or whatever. There are no words to capture the infinite depth of crowiness in the crow’s flight, the bare-faced bandit thing, the tattered beggarly gypsy thing, the caressing and shaping yet slightly clumsy gesture of the downstroke, as if the wings were both too heavy and too powerful, and the headlong sort of merriment, the macabre pantomime ghoulishness and the undertaker sleekness – you could go on for a very long time with phrases of that sort and still have completely missed your instant, glimpsed knowledge of the world of the crow’s wingbeat. And a bookload of such descriptions is immediately rubbish when you look up and see the crow flying.
– Ted Hughes.

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