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serpents by James Morehead

September 26, 2011


driving back from reno up a twisting mountain pass
while either side lie serpents as i silently trespass

rotting oak posts stand close, buried shallow
a careless worn serpent in quiet fields left fallow
crooked barbed wire across a dust thirsty plain
while bolts flaked with rust hint of last season’s rain

elegant serpents strike parallel lines
bolted rail ties and wooden brace spines
held firmly in place forming strict even spaces
racing forward never touching to faraway places

this serpent’s turns churn soil and silt
through fields of husks, yellow hints of gilt
sand bags for storm clouds create sturdy walls
fighting flood’s fury as the last drop falls

a serpent in air floats to and then fro
steps into thin air that opens below
his sail slaloms silent (or perhaps it is hers)
swooping forward then back - once still, then a blur

bemused by imposters still under smooth stone
this serpent forgotten for now left alone
tongue tasting the air to sense passing prey
while outside dusty sand swirls in circles of grey
2 Comments leave one →
  1. Kerrie Chabot permalink
    September 28, 2011 4:27 pm

    Nice, James. I’m trying to interpret….Very visual.
    Was this written after a recent drive? Or a memory?

    • James Morehead permalink
      September 28, 2011 4:34 pm

      Thanks! I was driving back from Reno recently and along the way noticed snake-like patterns (and preferred “serpents” to “snakes”) and played with different ways of describing those patterns as a starting point for the poem.

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