Today's poem is by Mary Oliver

Little Snake Asleep in the Sun

I come upon him and he
           is startled; he glides
to the rock's rim; he wheels, setting in motion
           the stripes of his body, yet not going
anywhere. And, though the books say
           it can't be done, since his eyes are set
too far apart in the narrow skull, I'm not
           lying when I say that he lifts his face and looks

into my eyes and I look back until
           we are both staring hard and directly
at each other. He is wondering
           just where in this bright, blue-faced world
he might be safe. He wants to go on with the
           flow of his life. So he straightens
his shining back and drops

from the rock and rockets through
           the tangle of weeds; he slides over
my bare foot; he vanishes
           into the shade and the tall grass, down to
some nameless stream, having
           startled me in return. But these were both
small matters. What I would speak of, rather,
           is the earnestness of his actually fragile and
nervous body; the ardent glare of his eyes.

Copyright © 2005 Mary Oliver All rights reserved
from Five Points
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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