Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What is Joy to the Snapping Turtle?















Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser


What is joy to the snapping turtle?

His beaky jowl open wide
does not invite a kiss.

His algae-slimed carapace
is rough around the edges,
sculpted by millennia of quarrels
with the world.

It does not invoke cuddle, or caress.

Dare you seek his intimate company,
he will hiss, puff, and rise.
Insist, and be met by a strike
of serpentine appearance and precision.

He has no patience for your curiosity,

No want for admiration or allegiance.

Coo and he will think you ridiculous.

When on land,
he has no retreat from your love
and it scares him.

But oh give him the substrate of
pond bottom muck
and all that he has learned
of passion comes alive.

Like a monk who knows
a specific mist-enshrouded mountain
as the extension
of his soul,

the snapping turtle glides
along a thoroughfare of beaver channels
and snacks on lizard's tail plants
as a matter of meditation

and transpersonal expression.

Watch this ancient master long enough
and you will discover what joy is.

Joy is surrendering your entire being
to the element to which you belong.


© 2011-2015/Jamie K. Reaser
from "Sacred Reciprocity: Courting the Beloved in Everyday Life" &
"Wild Life: New and Selected Poems"
Published by Hiraeth Press; http://www.hiraethpress.com

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