Poljane #poetry #earthweal

There are such ‘fields’
all over Slovenia of course
but this place 
is of my family by marriage 
and by extension that of
every living thing on earth.

There’s the old well with its 
green pond teeming with fish
and frogspawn, where
the legendary ‘Mudslinger’
feasts: so many little fish
and one hungry destroyer
that I sense a metaphor.

Here’s sanctuary for adders, water-snakes and scorpions 
we’ve driven them off of our sanitised land
failing to realise the bigger danger
of nature’s levelling by human hands.

The bears felt it and beat
a hasty retreat here too
after the war came:
they’re up in the mountains and
they will not bother you 
if you don’t startle them.

As for me, I’m happy just to be here
under the swaying trees
in the gentle April breeze, 
life singing songs of sanctuary all around.

The village has been all-but abandoned by
humans who left, thinking
‘What has this place to offer me?’
Nothing of the poison of modernity,
Nothing, but a sky alive with 
industrious bees 
and that now rarest song
call of
the first cuckoo in spring.

© Experimentsinfiction 2021, All Rights Reserved

Written for earthweal

For this week’s challenge, Brendan has asked us to:

write about Sanctuary. Where are those places near you in which you find the communion and forgiveness and renewal of sanctuary? How is it created and with whom is it shared? What can be done to ensure it grows into a deeper communion for generations to come?’

I have written about Poljane, my mother-in-law’s ancestral home in the forests of Southeastern Slovenia. The place name just means ‘fields,’ so it is very common. What I have found here that is uncommon is the sense of unspoiled nature. Life was hard here for the villagers, who had to work the land or starve. I am not saying a return to such a difficult existence is necessary, but a return to being in harmony with nature, and taking no more than what we give, could carry us a long way.

pond and well
The village well, and the pond with the legendary ‘Mudslinger’ – can you spot him?
scorpion in bucket
A scorpion in a bucket, which my son saved from drowning.

33 thoughts on “Poljane #poetry #earthweal

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  1. Your poem was a joy to read, Ingrid, and I love the photographs. Slovenia is a beautiful country, with its unspoiled nature. I love the stanza about the green pond teeming with fish and frogspawn, which made me think of Basho’s pond and frog. We’ve had adders in our garden when it’s been really hot but, thankfully. No scorpions. Or bears. And you are quite right about the ‘bigger danger of nature’s levelling by human hands’. We are lucky that the Norfolk Broads are protected by their status as a national park.

    1. Thank you Kim. There are many protected areas in Slovenia. The only thing which lets it down in terms of ‘green’ credentials is the lack of public transport infrastructure: everyone has a car here.

  2. It looks like a beautiful place, Ingrid–though I imagine life would be difficult there, especially in the winter. Thank you for sharing. Is it far from where you live now?
    I never thought of scorpions in your part of the world. We had them in Dallas, though I don’t remember. My older child in western Mass, where they have found a sanctuary, has had bears walk right through her yard! It’s happened twice recently!

    1. Thank you Merril! It’s not too far from where we live, about a 40 minute drive. Until we found that scorpion I had no clue they lived here either! There is one restaurant where the bears come into the field next door to eat sometimes: it must be quite a sight though I’ve never seen it!

  3. Glad you have a place fee from throes modern poisons. Feels ancient and healing, familiar but also ever-changing. Glad you have such a place.

  4. What a glorious sanctum! How unique and off-road from modernity. Your embrace of it is casual and knowing, Heavens on earth tend to be like this, nothing special and everything. Love it.

  5. I too long for a return to a simpler time, where frogs croaked and birds sang, and the legends of mudslingers could still be real – as they are in your corner of the world. ~

  6. Lovely poem wrapped up in a story. You expanded our vision and then brought us to a place of solitude. I still was unable to bring your poem off of earth weal. I got another error 😬

  7. We need more places like this, where the world can just be. What if the world was mostly sanctuary, and we took up less space in it? (K)

  8. Glorious, and all the better to enjoy when most of the people have gone. I especially love your closing lines….and photos! Such beauty.

  9. Will try again. All the more to enjoy when most people have gone. I especially love your closing lines. And photos! You live in beauty.

  10. What a lovely place – so rich with that special beauty that comes with long time harmonious relationship between humans and a particular landscape. And so gently and reverently told.
    And as a side note, we get scorpions too and there is a direct relationship between the size of their tails and pincers and their toxicity. Skinny tail plus big pincers is pretty much harmless(like the black ones we get around the house), fat tail and teeny pincers is dangerous. Well that is how it works here anyway.

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