Poetry Friday: Finding Beauty, Even in a Snake


When I was a kid, I loved hanging out on my swing set. One day when I went out to play, there was a huge snake, so black he was blue, sunning himself under the swings. I ran screaming back into the house, and have been terrified of snakes ever since.

Then one of my boys turned into a lover of all reptiles, especially snakes. On our first trip to the Bronx Zoo, he made a bee-line to the Reptile House. So I had to learn, if not to like snakes, at least not be petrified when I saw one.

So I wasn’t at all surprised to see this on Michael’s Instagram feed last week:

Photo by Michael Flynn
Photo by Michael Flynn

And even though I still really don’t like snakes, it was hard to ignore the beauty of this one.

His scales polished
to a glossy shine,
green glimmers,
blue-black shimmers
as rat snake slithers
over sun-warmed slate
like lightning flashing
across the sky.

© Catherine Flynn, 2016

Please be sure to visit Buffy Silverman at Buffy’s Blog for the Poetry Friday Roundup!

13 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Finding Beauty, Even in a Snake

  1. *shudders* That fella looks a lot like our red-bellied black snakes. And I wouldn’t want to mess with one of them! You’re right – there is a magnificence… but I’ll probably be seeing snakes all afternoon, thanks to this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My brother who lives in the country just posted a picture of a rat snake recently. I don’t know snakes very well, but know what’s good and what’s dangerous since hiking in Colorado we have to watch for rattlers. This is beautiful, those “shimmers, glimmers and slithers”, Catherine. Great picture, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lightning flashing indeed! Run! I can’t even keep the picture up on the screen. When my oldest was 3, my mother and I took her to the zoo. I refused to go in the snake house. I am so terribly afraid of snakes. Maggie went with her grandmother and came out and exclaimed, “Mom! It’s OK; they’re all in cages!” What a brave child to go into a dark tunnel not knowing the snakes were caged.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m with Margaret–I had to read the poem with the photo scrolled out of sight! I do love the lightning flashing imagery and applaud your imagination and creativity in finding beauty in this monster snake!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Not a huge snake lover over here either, Catherine. But wow, between Michael’s photograph and your poem, you’re making me a believer. A few weeks ago there was a snake coiled up outside our front door– sunning atop the creeping juniper. I couldn’t imagine it made for a very comfortable bed. Rather prickly, I would think. But then again, my skin is not like a snake’s, so who knows.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow! You had to spend a bit of time looking at that picture to tease this poem into being. Congrats! I’m happy to gaze at the photo, since I know he can’t come after me!


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