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
and that now rarest song
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.