“Snakes in the ‘Hood”

snake

Husband went out this morning to collect the eggs from the hen house  and there was our now-resident snake, Snakipoo.  He was wanting his breakfast, too.  Fred backed away and the snake stood (or coiled) his ground.

I wrote the following poem in 2017 and got a lot of grief because of it.  Too bad.  The ignorance about wildlife around SW Atlanta, would fill a river with hawks shot out of the branches of trees because “They are Chicken Hawks” and even if you DON’T have chickens, hawks are still ‘fair game’.  It’s just ignorance and hopefully these folk will die off and some ecological sanity will prevail.

Lady Nyo

SNAKES IN THE ‘HOOD

“When people see a snake, they think a serpent.

When they think serpent, they see Satan” 

….former State Rep. Douglas Dean, who was arrested for carrying a packet of cocaine in his wallet.

 

 

Oh, my dear garden snakes,

Run and hide in the leaf litter!

You appear each spring

Birthed from that old stump,

Your beautiful duns, browns, moss greens

Intermingling with last year’s fallen leaves.

 

I remember you as divine jewelry

Around my slender wrists as a child.

You terrified the adults

And transformed me into Cleopatra.

 

A box under my bed

Disturbed by a dust mop,

A dozen of you slithered out.

The 200 year old wood floors,

Cold on your bellies.

 

The head of the dust mop screamed

And I never could find you all.

Did you disappear out that window

Where you dropped to the ground?

 

I mourned for those missing,

Learned adults didn’t care

For the miracles of nature:

Eating blackberries from

A stretch of rambling bushes,

A July North Carolina sun

Warm for the mountains

And below me,

A cottonmouth doing the same.

 

I backed out of fear and respect,

But the blackberries were good

And enough for both to share.

 

I remember the black racers

Hanging in the pine trees

And we children dared each other

To run under them,

Hoping one of us would get squeezed

In your embracing coils

But it never happened.

You knew our game.

 

In cultures you snakes

Were the umbilical cord

Joining all humans to Mother Earth.

 

In ancient Crete

You were the guardians

Of the Goddess’ great mysteries

Of birth and regeneration.

 

The Hopi Indians

Joined the snake of the Sky Spirit

With the snake of the Earth

And dancing with them in great reverence,

Loosened them into the fields

Where the golden corn was growing

To bless and secure their fertility.

 

No garden hoe will touch you,

My dear little garden snakes,

No stoning of your innocence,

I will gather your twine-ing bodies

And lift you above the ignorance of bigotry.

 

They violate their God’s dictates

“Even to the lesser of you amongst us”

And you without limbs or voice

are surely that.

 

If not beloved by God,

Surely,

You will be beloved by me.

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017-2019

 

 

 

III

 

 

CHICKEN HAWK TALK

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