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The Snakes of September

Written by: Stanley Kunitz | Biography
 | Quotes (2) |
 All summer I heard them 
rustling in the shrubbery, 
outracing me from tier 
to tier in my garden,
a whisper among the viburnums, 
a signal flashed from the hedgerow,
a shadow pulsing 
in the barberry thicket.
Now that the nights are chill 
and the annuals spent,
I should have thought them gone, 
in a torpor of blood 
slipped to the nether world 
before the sickle frost.
Not so. In the deceptive balm
of noon, as if defiant of the curse 
that spoiled another garden,
these two appear on show
through a narrow slit
in the dense green brocade 
of a north-country spruce,
dangling head-down, entwined
in a brazen love-knot.
I put out my hand and stroke
the fine, dry grit of their skins. 
After all,
we are partners in this land, 
co-signers of a covenant. 
At my touch the wild 
braid of creation