Another Snake

Shortly after I posted the poem about accidentally mowing a snake into pieces (the headless fellow in the grass), I was given a chance to make some amends to the world of snakes.  My cat, of whom I never would have expected this, caught a snake and brought it to me.

The reason I wouldn’t have expected it is because this particular cat has a deep and abiding love for the indoors. About once a day, she stands at the door mewing desperately to be let out. Once the door is open, she ventures as far as the edge of the porch and has been known to remain there for as long as 90 seconds before spiraling into regret over the terrible mistake she’s made. Then she mews desperately at the other side of the door until someone lets her back in. Nobody would peg her as a snake catcher.

I didn’t count on her finding a snake in our basement. But the other day as I sat in the living room, typing away on my laptop, she came trotting up from the basement with something long and skinny dangling from her mouth. When she dropped it in front of me, it slithered. It slithered with amazing speed. She pounced, it struck at her, she picked it up again, it writhed away again, she batted at it and I realized intervention was needed.

After an untaped, never to be seen episode of Funniest Home Videos, involving me, the cat, the snake, lots of yelling, hissing, slithering, stalking, running, tripping over chairs, and ultimately, the use of a Rubbermaid container, I managed to set the snake free outside. Through great personal effort, I had saved it from my cat. And thus balance was restored to the universe.

With Apologies to Emily Dickinson

My Snake

A headless fellow in the grass
Bleeding and lifeless lies,
I did not see him, till too late.
Mower blades met him first.

Grass is short now; he lies exposed,
His stripes truncate too soon;
Tip of the tail is severed, too.
He died this afternoon.

He liked the elm tree’s shade,
Protected from the sun
He made a nest at its roots,
Was sleeping there this morn.

Many days I’ve seen him slither
And pass before my feet.
I never meant him harm; when
I saw him, I’d retreat.

Several of these snakes I’ve had
Abiding in my yard,
Neither of us aggressive,
Yet both kept on our guard.

But never met one so close
By accident or purpose,
To touch him with my hand
Or with the blade’s sharp surface.


This is based on an incident from a couple of years ago. I started a poem about it then and forgot it until recently. I found the nearly finished poem earlier this week and brought it to its conclusion. I really didn’t run over the snake on purpose.