Snake Poems - Poems For Snake

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Snake - Poem by David Herbert Lawrence

A snake came to my water-trough
On a hot, hot day, and I in pyjamas for the heat,
To drink there.
In the deep, strange-scented shade of the great dark carob-tree
I came down the steps with my pitcher
And must wait, must stand and wait, for there he was at the trough before
me.

He reached down from a fissure in the earth-wall in the gloom
And trailed his yellow-brown slackness soft-bellied down, over the edge of
the stone trough
And rested his throat upon the stone bottom,
And where the water had dripped from the tap, in a small clearness,
He sipped with his straight mouth,
Softly drank through his straight gums, into his slack long body,
Silently.

Someone was before me at my water-trough,
And I, like a second comer, waiting.

He lifted his head from his drinking, as cattle do,
And looked at me vaguely, as drinking cattle do,
And flickered his two-forked tongue from his lips, and mused a moment,
And stooped and drank a little more,
Being earth-brown, earth-golden from the burning bowels of the earth
On the day of Sicilian July, with Etna smoking.
The voice of my education said to me
He must be killed,
For in Sicily the black, black snakes are innocent, the gold are venomous.

And voices in me said, If you were a man
You would take a stick and break him now, and finish him off.

But must I confess how I liked him,
How glad I was he had come like a guest in quiet, to drink at my water-trough
And depart peaceful, pacified, and thankless,
Into the burning bowels of this earth?

Was it cowardice, that I dared not kill him? Was it perversity, that I longed to talk to him? Was it humility, to feel so honoured?
I felt so honoured.

And yet those voices:
If you were not afraid, you would kill him!

And truly I was afraid, I was most afraid, But even so, honoured still more
That he should seek my hospitality
From out the dark door of the secret earth.

He drank enough
And lifted his head, dreamily, as one who has drunken,
And flickered his tongue like a forked night on the air, so black,
Seeming to lick his lips,
And looked around like a god, unseeing, into the air,
And slowly turned his head,
And slowly, very slowly, as if thrice adream,
Proceeded to draw his slow length curving round
And climb again the broken bank of my wall-face.

And as he put his head into that dreadful hole,
And as he slowly drew up, snake-easing his shoulders, and entered farther,
A sort of horror, a sort of protest against his withdrawing into that horrid black hole,
Deliberately going into the blackness, and slowly drawing himself after,
Overcame me now his back was turned.

I looked round, I put down my pitcher,
I picked up a clumsy log
And threw it at the water-trough with a clatter.

I think it did not hit him,
But suddenly that part of him that was left behind convulsed in undignified haste.
Writhed like lightning, and was gone
Into the black hole, the earth-lipped fissure in the wall-front,
At which, in the intense still noon, I stared with fascination.

And immediately I regretted it.
I thought how paltry, how vulgar, what a mean act!
I despised myself and the voices of my accursed human education.

And I thought of the albatross
And I wished he would come back, my snake.

For he seemed to me again like a king,
Like a king in exile, uncrowned in the underworld,
Now due to be crowned again.

And so, I missed my chance with one of the lords
Of life.
And I have something to expiate:
A pettiness.


Comments about Snake by David Herbert Lawrence

  • Gold Star - 11,125 Points Michael Morgan (9/3/2014 11:06:00 PM)

    phrases like 'writhed like lightning' and 'earth-lipped fissure' as well as much excellent and close, outwardly directed observation, mark this as a great poem, albeit marred by its rambling quality and its indecisiveness. (Report) Reply

    2 person liked.
    4 person did not like.
  • Gold Star - 59,599 Points Bri Edwards (7/28/2014 11:47:00 PM)

    a lovely poem, sort of in tribute to a sometimes-thought-loathsome creature, SNAKE! and also a condemnation of some of the thinking and actions of men/women/children towards snakes. i came to read this after D.H. Lawrence was mentioned in a comment by Daniel Brick, on my poem Salamander. :) bri Already Reported Reply

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Poems About Snake

  1. 1. Snake , David Herbert Lawrence
  2. 2. Snake , Theodore Roethke
  3. 3. Snake , Langston Hughes
  4. 4. To The Snake , Denise Levertov
  5. 5. The Snake , TaMaRa HaNaRiNg ,(((( PaLeST ..
  6. 6. (004) A Snake In My Garden , Risha Ahmed (12 yrs)
  7. 7. The Boy And The Snake , Charles Lamb
  8. 8. The Legend Of Snake Hollow (A Halloween .. , Udiah (witness to Yah)
  9. 9. Snake , Padraic Colum
  10. 10. The Snake Charmer , Sarojini Naidu
  11. 11. The Deer And The Snake , Kenneth Patchen
  12. 12. ***the Snake*** , Theodora (Theo) Onken
  13. 13. Another Snake , TaMaRa HaNaRiNg ,(((( PaLeST ..
  14. 14. The King Brown Snake , Herbert Nehrlich
  15. 15. Twin Cinquains - Snake/Fish , Valsa George
  16. 16. A Snake Yarn , William Thomas Goodge
  17. 17. Snake In The Grass , Sathya Narayana
  18. 18. The Dukite Snake , John Boyle O'Reilly
  19. 19. Haiku-The Snake , Loke Kok yee
  20. 20. Snake In The Grass , Theodora (Theo) Onken
  21. 21. Snake , Tom Billsborough
  22. 22. A Snake Has A Question , Bruce Larkin
  23. 23. Snake- Bite , James Jarrett
  24. 24. Snake And Potato Bug , James McIntyre
  25. 25. Cobra Snake , Hasmukh Amathalal
  26. 26. Haiku-A Snake , Loke Kok yee
  27. 27. Snake, Lawyer, Stick …… [divorce; Courtr.. , Bri Edwards
  28. 28. 010. The Snake , John Westlake
  29. 29. Rainbow Snake , Raj Arumugam
  30. 30. We Kissed A Snake , Rahman Henry
  31. 31. The Snake , Homen Borgohain
  32. 32. Limerick-The Snake And The Frog , Loke Kok yee
  33. 33. Croak, Or Croak? ….. [definitions-Diffe.. , Bri Edwards
  34. 34. Black Red Banded Snake Poison Perfume Ha.. , Terence George Craddock (aft ..
  35. 35. The Snake , B.J. Ayers
  36. 36. Snake Bite Charms, Satirical Poems , Captain Cur
  37. 37. Manu And The I-T Girl .... [a Modernized.. , Bri Edwards
  38. 38. Manu And The Snake … [a Tale Of Woe; In.. , Bri Edwards
  39. 39. Snake Charmer , Gangadharan nair Pulingat..
  40. 40. The Snake Gourd Blossoms , Masaoka Shiki
  41. 41. The Snake & The Apple , Paula Glynn
  42. 42. Snake Bite , Janelle Morehart
  43. 43. The Double-Headed Snake Of Newbury , John Greenleaf Whittier
  44. 44. The Lame Gypsy Snake Charmer , nimal dunuhinga
  45. 45. Snake Charmer , Sadiqullah Khan
  46. 46. Snake Park , Pradip Chattopadhyay
  47. 47. Little Garter Snake , Juan Olivarez
  48. 48. A Snake Seizes , gajanan mishra
  49. 49. 1. The Real Snake Is Twisting In The Mouth , john tiong chunghoo
  50. 50. Handwriting Like A Snake , Luo Zhihai
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