Snake Poem Rhyme Scheme and Analysis


A snake came to my water troughA
On a hot hot day and I in pyjamas for the heatB
To drink thereC
In the deep strange scented shade of the great dark carob treeD
I came down the steps with my pitcherE
And must wait must stand and wait for there he was at the trough beforeF
He reached down from a fissure in the earth wall in the gloomG
And trailed his yellow brown slackness soft bellied down over the edge ofH
the stone troughA
And rested his throat upon the stone bottomI
And where the water had dripped from the tap in a small clearnessJ
He sipped with his straight mouthK
Softly drank through his straight gums into his slack long bodyD
Someone was before me at my water troughA
And I like a second comer waitingL
He lifted his head from his drinking as cattle doM
And looked at me vaguely as drinking cattle doM
And flickered his two forked tongue from his lips and mused a momentN
And stooped and drank a little moreF
Being earth brown earth golden from the burning bowels of the earthO
On the day of Sicilian July with Etna smokingL
The voice of my education said to meD
He must be killedP
For in Sicily the black black snakes are innocent the gold are venomousJ
And voices in me said If you were a manQ
You would take a stick and break him now and finish him offA
But must I confess how I liked himR
How glad I was he had come like a guest in quiet to drink at my water troughA
And depart peaceful pacified and thanklessJ
Into the burning bowels of this earthO
Was it cowardice that I dared not kill himR
Was it perversity that I longed to talk to himR
Was it humility to feel so honouredP
I felt so honouredP
And yet those voicesJ
If you were not afraid you would kill himR
And truly I was afraid I was most afraid But even so honoured still moreF
That he should seek my hospitalityP
From out the dark door of the secret earthO
He drank enoughS
And lifted his head dreamily as one who has drunkenT
And flickered his tongue like a forked night on the air so blackU
Seeming to lick his lipsJ
And looked around like a god unseeing into the airC
And slowly turned his headP
And slowly very slowly as if thrice adreamR
Proceeded to draw his slow length curving roundP
And climb again the broken bank of my wall faceJ
And as he put his head into that dreadful holeV
And as he slowly drew up snake easing his shoulders and entered fartherE
A sort of horror a sort of protest against his withdrawing into that horrid black holeV
Deliberately going into the blackness and slowly drawing himself afterE
Overcame me now his back was turnedP
I looked round I put down my pitcherE
I picked up a clumsy logW
And threw it at the water trough with a clatterE
I think it did not hit himR
But suddenly that part of him that was left behind convulsed in undignified hasteP
Writhed like lightning and was goneX
Into the black hole the earth lipped fissure in the wall frontP
At which in the intense still noon I stared with fascinationT
And immediately I regretted itP
I thought how paltry how vulgar what a mean actP
I despised myself and the voices of my accursed human educationT
And I thought of the albatrossJ
And I wished he would come back my snakeY
For he seemed to me again like a kingL
Like a king in exile uncrowned in the underworldP
Now due to be crowned againZ
And so I missed my chance with one of the lordsJ
Of lifeA2
And I have something to expiateP
A pettinessJ

D. H. Lawrence


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