Snake in the Grass

Snake, snake, come to my ear,
murmur of apples and desire.
Show me the way out:
a cage, however beautiful the flowers,
is still a cage.
The man – see him? – he does
nothing. He’s asleep,
he’s a trusty, he’s been persuaded
he’s the High Heid’yin here.
He’s brainwashed with
centuries of self-importance.
He’s so busy setting up dominion
he hasn’t even noticed you.
But I see you coiled in the grass.
I see your shining scales,
your warmth, your danger.
I want some of that.
Spit some venom into my mouth.
Give me courage, this is
a strong spell and it will take
more than me alone to break it.
Not to break Adam, that would be
easy. He’s in thrall to anyone
who shows him who’s boss.
No, to break out of this garden.
These silken lianas will bind me,
the forest is impenetrable,
the flowers seduce me
with their beauty – oh, I’d stay
for one more rogue white camas,
one unexpected chocolate lily.

But not for promises whispered
in my other ear, of naming
of animals, lady of all I survey.
I already know about apples
and knowledge and nakedness
and having babies
and the family as seat of child abuse,
the slaughter of the innocents,
the slaying of brother by brother,
but better this than
being some arbitrary maniac’s
puppet in an outdoor theatre.

Snake, rustling through
the undergrowth,
no-one is lord of you.
Lend me your guile,
teach me your purpose,
your true-to-yourself-ness.
Wrap yourself around my heart,
make a figure of eight
in my belly, come into me
and writhe your way through me,
come out through my mouth,
lick the scales from my eyes.
If I’m hurt, opening the jaws of the trap,
let me as you do shed a skin.
Snake, my beautiful snake,
with your wisdom, set me free.

This poem refers to the homage to DH Lawrence.