Slug Saver


Many of you know that I am a long-time vegetarian and a forever animal lover. I think I came out of the chute part-bird, part human, and fully empathic (thank you for this, ma!).

My animal compassion decisions and actions have never been difficult; they’ve been givens, as if my soul just can’t do certain things when it comes to animal suffering of any kind. This just is. There is no hierarchy I build, no harsh comparisons I make, no holier-than-thou judgments I put on others. I have eaten my baked potato and side salad next to steak eaters and had a grand time. (Okay, it was a little gross, but I could handle it.)

Do I wish that our culture would eat fewer animals overall? Yes. Do I wish that factory farms didn’t exist and instead animals were free to roam and without being injected with harmful hormones and other yuckitudes? Yes. Do I wish that sometimes I could save every animal on the planet? Yes.

And yet, I know life is complex and eating habits run deep and that I can’t save every animal. But given the chance, I try my best. I even save the littlest creatures of this earth. I save spiders, ants, potato bugs, flies, bees, and yes, even slugs — even slugs that are chomping on my garden. (I can hear some of you gasping! It’s okay, really, I am fine with it.)

I don’t think I’m crazy. If you were part-animal and all-empath, wouldn’t you feel compelled to do the same?

In honor of the animals of this world, I give you a poem I wrote in graduate school in 2002. Okay, perhaps I’m a little crazy, but a big heart and a strong conviction are kind of sexy, right?

in slimy goodness,



You slide up the railroad ties

to the vegetable garden

like land-born leaches to suck

the life from the bush beans,

red leaf lettuce, baby carrots.

I creep outside with a flashlight

to remove you from a slow

salted death from my father’s

slug bait, follow your silvery

mucus trails, those lustrous

streaks painting the garden bed.

I pick you up with maple leaves,

clumps of grass clippings, place

you under the deck, away

from the garden, sprinkle

raspberries near you as a gift

for this sudden relocation,

this interference.  I did not know

you’d become bigger,

stronger, and multiply

from these sweet meals,

that I’d run out of raspberries,

that my father would set more bait,

or that you’d summon your friends,

their swelled bodies hungry

for the surge of succulent red juice.

c. 2002, Courtney Putnam


About Courtney Putnam

I first came to healing work through art and writing. Creating collage art and poetry in particular allowed me to deeply understand the benefit of self-expression in the healing process. But, I also began to see the benefit of bodywork (manual work in the form of massage and energywork in the form of Reiki) as keys to unlocking the emotional stresses we hold in our bodies. I became a Reiki practitioner in 2002, received an MFA in Creative Writing in 2003, received my massage license in the spring of 2006, and became a Reiki Master in 2010. In my practice I bring together these three areas -- the body, the mind, and the spirit (or energy body) -- so others may experience profound and positive change in their lives.
This entry was posted in poetry, Uncategorized, Zen. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Slug Saver

  1. Binky says:

    Very cute. Very Courtney.

  2. Love it! Empathy is always sexy.

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