The Tangled Hills

Find a place at the edge of a swamp

Listen and learn and take in

who goes – who stays –

what’s eaten – what decays –

all the stinks and stews of it

in the percolating ooze

of a swamp’s necessities

until you realize

this isn’t all that life’s about

When you come away stay on the lookout

for creatures in your dreams and their calls

that may echo on a dark afternoon

Begin a fast to discern

the veins of your own hunger

from a nameless lifelong yearning

that invites you into the tangled hills

It’s okay to get lost out there

to stumble headlong into brambles –

a kind of failure that reopens old wounds

Listen! Those brambles are hiding the clipped

insistent song of a wren

Three steps or so beyond

in an ancient grove

a spring overbrims

You know what to do … how to wait

The spring flows into every part of the forest

Wherever you turn and turn again

the sound you imagine to be the spring

is the one behind you whispering

            – Eugene Marckx

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