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(1942 / London)

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Adders

Too late for me
to make friends of adders.‭
‬They banish me
from the midday heat
of their bracken slopes.‭

‬But his smooth visitors
quiet on a spring brae
trapped his mind in their curves
as he passed the shy spirals, ‭
‬thin air and secret height, ‭
‬cherished that picture
down beside flat walls, ‭
‬pavements and schoolrooms, ‭
‬contoured creatures in grass, ‭
‬rocky corridors.‭

‬Their patterns, ‭ ‬their brightness, ‭
‬dry silk of their touch, ‭
‬their fine animal dignity
as he learned their ways, ‭
‬all these things captivated, ‭
‬until he could breed them, ‭
‬release their young‭ – ‬warden, ‭
‬could shrug off the burn
of a flickering bite, ‭
‬unlucky, ‭ ‬unlikely.‭

‬This conversation
on a short car journey
expertly untwisted
my long-coiled fear.

Submitted: Wednesday, June 05, 2013
Edited: Friday, August 02, 2013


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