Day 25 Poem-a-day challenge

My inner muse is a bit difficult today! Perhaps I have overworked her. I am posting late in the day because my first effort came out more like a prayer to the earth than a conversation with a dream or vision that represents the land nearby, but here’s my second effort. This poetic form is new to me (pronounced ashling).

And here’s the prompt from!

“Today’s (optional) prompt is based on the aisling, a poetic form that developed in Ireland. An aisling recounts a dream or vision featuring a woman who represents the land or country on/in which the poet lives, and who speaks to the poet about it. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that recounts a dream or vision, and in which a woman appears who represents or reflects the area in which you live. Perhaps she will be the Madonna of the Traffic Lights, or the Mysterious Spirit of Bus Stops. Or maybe you will be addressed by the Lost Lady of the Stony Coves. Whatever form your dream-visitor takes, happy writing!”

Tidal marsh, photo by poet.

Mother of the Marshes: Aisling

Rising from the mist above the

muddy marshes, a female presence

forms from nothingness & my dreams.

She speaks: “I am the mother of the marshes.”

She is dark like the earth & smells

like the sea.  She’s the spirit of the river &

flows with the tides. I am in awe, so don’t

speak back, but she doesn’t mind. She has

things to say. “You know,” she says, “that

my spartina grasses bind my muddy soil,

to protect all you humans from the stormy seas.

Being a buffer is just fine, but more importantly,

I am a shelter for these lovely terns on their

long migration. Ducks & cormorants love to

stay with me and nest.” Although I know

all that is true, I also know that the marshes

can suck you in like quicksand. “Never fear,”

she says, (Can she read my mind?)

“Stay away from my pluffmud at low tide & I will

soothe your soul with my shimmering

waters by moonlight or sunlight.” She recedes

into the rising mist & I breathe in the

salty air & let her clear away my woes.

Jacquelyn Markham (4/25/2022)