A Gift From The Slough

I was talking with my Teacher Tree the other morning about my life. To talk to a tree you have to first open your heart to it, and then find enough peace within yourself to listen properly. My teacher told me a great event awaited me at the shores of a slough not far from my house. I was promised a fantastic gift of personal achievement if I visited there that day. This gift would transform my life forever.

I carved out time that afternoon to walk alone along the shore. It was a glorious spring day with strong wind and blooming flowers. I stopped to grab some wild radishes and fennel stalk to chew as I searched for my gift. The day was boisterous enough that I didn’t obsess too much about what my teacher had said as I slogged through the muck and wondered at the birds. It wasn’t until I was on my way back to the car, resting on a bench that the gift came to me on the wind: “this prayerful marsh.”

That was it – the first line of poetry I’d been given by my muse in well over ten years. I had written poems since that last true poem, but none of those were really pulling from the source of the muse. I wrote poems since childhood, they came and went in fits and starts. The muse is still an unfamiliar lover to me.

I wrestled with this poem, adding too much, subtracting to little as usual. It wasn’t until I was sitting in circle with other people that I was able to let go of the fluff so that all that remained was authentically me and authentically the slough.

A Gift From The Slough

I always find
this prayerful marsh
sweetly drunk on itself,
eating liars like me
to make our bones true.

Elkhorn CA, May 2009

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