Thursday, August 19, 2010

Poetry: Why I Don't Claim a Totem Animal

I do post original poems here on occasion. I wrote this one as part of a poetry challenge in 2007, where I did 30 poems in 30 days. I hang out on a thread in the Etsy forums that is inspired by the Native American culture (they very kindly welcomed me in, even though I am very white), and it reminded me of this one. So campfire folks, this is for you:

Why I don't claim a totem animal

I've always been fascinated
by spirit dreams
and totem animals.
Wouldn't it be incredible
to have an animal guide of your own?
A fox or a raven,
or maybe a loon
with its haunting cry
and knowledge of the watery ways.
I've never picked one though.
I think maybe the guide chooses you
when you are ready.
Still, I tried one evening,
when we were camping on the lake
during our summer Canadian pilgrimage.

Everyone had gone to bed,
and I was standing alone
in the darkened cabin,
staring out of the screen door,
taking a deep chill breath
of living midnight air.
A single light illuminated
the weathered stairway
that led down to the dock
and the softly tapping waves.
I could almost touch
the magic, thick with promise,
drifting through the dark.
Maybe...maybe now. Yes.

I closed my eyes,
stilled my thoughts...
and sent a call winging
into the listening night,
asking for my guide to be revealed.
Calm. Center.
Extend the senses.
My very skin tingled.
A moment passed.
And...yes. I felt
a sort of...*presence*.
I opened my eyes...
and right in front of me
clinging to the screen...
was a whole freaking flock of mosquitoes.

I swear I heard someone
giggle at me.

-Melissa McCollum


  1. Priceless!Precious! Thanks for sharing

  2. *grin* True story, and it still makes me smile and shake my head. Someone has a wicked sense of humor. Glad you enjoyed!

  3. So your animal totem is a mosquito. Funny!! Sounds like something that would happen to me.

  4. Let see...born from still waters, willing to seek out and spent time with all living things, takes just enough sustenance to get by and moves on without killing, you remember her presence for days to come...and can be annoying as all get out.

  5. Very entertaining! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Skeeters! That's whatcha get for trying to be open to different ways.

  7. I think this gets filed under the heading 'Be Careful What You Ask For'. :)