Great American poet Stanley Kunitz was also an ardent gardener, and he used to pet the numerous snakes he found there, even through many snake generations, as they seemed to know he was no threat…

The Snakes of September

All summer I heard them
rustling in the shrubbery,
outracing  me from tier
to tier in my garden,
a whisper among the viburnums,
a signal flashed from the hedgerow,
a shadow pulsing
in the barbarry thicket.

Now that the nights are chill
and the annuals spent,
I should have thought them gone,
in a torpor of blood
slipped to the nether world
before the sickle frost.
Not so. In the deceptive balm
of noon, as if defiant of the curse
that spoiled another garden,
these two appear on show
through a narrow slit
in the dense green brocade
of a north-country spruce,
dangling headdown, entwined
in a brazen love-knot.
I put out my hand and stroke
the fine, dry grit of their skins.
After all,
we are partners in this land,
co-signers of a covenant.
At my touch the wild
braid of creation
trembles.

     ~ Stanley Kunitz

             

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