I’ve passed this slough everyday
on my walk around this country
block. It’s hard to ignore,
though I have, too busy
wading in my own marshy thoughts, until –
one day I see gold.
A blackbird with a bright yellow head.
I can’t resist. I stop to kneel, to be
still, to be one with the grass on the shore and
I look, I really look. Time floats away
among the rushes, the reeds rising in wind tickled water.
Beyond flat fields of grain and all around me, sky,
half my world filled with that huge blue prairie sky. Here,
at the slough it is spring. There are red-winged
as well as yellow-headed blackbirds, a pair
of geese, dragon flies, ducks of all colors, shapes and sizes.
I want to know their names, to be able to call them
all by name. Everything is flutter,
flash and flurry. The air pulses as fertility bursts
into croaky song. I breathe in
moist scent of citreous, feel the earth
throb beneath my knees, now damp where
slough has touched me.

How can I not be awed?
How can I not be prayerful?
How can I not wonder
if I am kneeling at
the threshold of a temple?

~ Diane Buchanan

Diane Buchanan is a poet and essayist who learned to love the land during the last thirty-six years living on a farm on the outskirts of Edmonton. She recently moved into the city and is now missing the northern sky, sunsets, night sounds as well as her daily walks to the slough near her home. She is the author of two book of poetry; Ask Her Anything, Rowen Books, 2001 and Between the Silences, Frontenac House, 2005.

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