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Famous Snake Poems by Famous Poets

These are examples of famous Snake poems written by some of the greatest and most-well-known modern and classical poets. PoetrySoup is a great educational poetry resource of famous snake poems. These examples illustrate what a famous snake poem looks like and its form, scheme, or style (where appropriate).

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by Silverstein, Shel
...aloon in a street of mud
and at a table dealing stud sat the dirty,
mangy dog that named me Sue.

Well, I knew that snake was my own sweet dad
from a worn-out picture that my mother had
and I knew the scar on his cheek and his evil eye.
He was big and bent and gray and old
and I looked at him and my blood ran cold,
and I said, "My name is Sue. How do you do?
Now you're gonna die." Yeah, that's what I told him.

Well, I hit him right between the eyes and he...Read more of this...

by Shelley, Percy Bysshe
...e of the desolate night,
Through tangled swamps and deep precipitous dells,
Startling with careless step the moon-light snake,
He fled. Red morning dawned upon his flight,
Shedding the mockery of its vital hues
Upon his cheek of death. He wandered on
Till vast Aornos seen from Petra's steep 
Hung o'er the low horizon like a cloud;
Through Balk, and where the desolated tombs
Of Parthian kings scatter to every wind
Their wasting dust, wildly he wandered on,
Day after da...Read more of this...

by Pope, Alexander
...ouplet fraught
With some unmeaning Thing they call a Thought,
A needless Alexandrine ends the Song,
That like a wounded Snake, drags its slow length along.
Leave such to tune their own dull Rhimes, and know
What's roundly smooth, or languishingly slow;
And praise the Easie Vigor of a Line,
Where Denham's Strength, and Waller's Sweetness join.
True Ease in Writing comes from Art, not Chance,
As those move easiest who have learn'd to dance,
'Tis not enough no Harshness ...Read more of this...

by Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth
...of the horse as a plaything,
Nailing the shoe in its place; while near him the tire of the cart-wheel
Lay like a fiery snake, coiled round in a circle of cinders.
Oft on autumnal eves, when without in the gathering darkness
Bursting with light seemed the smithy, through every cranny and crevice,
Warm by the forge within they watched the laboring bellows,
And as its panting ceased, and the sparks expired in the ashes,
Merrily laughed, and said they were nuns going into th...Read more of this...

by Hugo, Victor
...ruin now appears, 
 E'en as by leprosy the wild boars die, 
 In moat the crumbled battlements now lie; 
 Around the snake-like bramble twists its rings; 
 Freebooter sparrows come on daring wings 
 To perch upon the swivel-gun, nor heed 
 Its murmuring growl when pecking in their greed 
 The mulberries ripe. With insolence the thorn 
 Thrives on the desolation so forlorn. 
 But winter brings revenges; then the Keep 
 Wakes all vindictive from its seeming sleep, 
 ...Read more of this...

by Alighieri, Dante
 The bounty that she wills. No human wits 
 May hinder, nor may human lore reject 
 Her choice, that like a hidden snake is set 
 To reach the feet unheeding. Where she sits 
 In judgment, she resolves, and whom she wills 
 Is havened, chased by petulant storms, or wreck ' 
 Remedeless. Races cease, and men forget 
 They were. Slaves rise to rule their lords. She 
 And empties, godlike in her mood. No pause 
 Her changes leave, so many are those who c...Read more of this...

by Byron, George (Lord)
...would offer to her love. 
These deck the shore; the waves their channel make 
In windings bright and mazy like the snake. 
All was so still, so soft in earth and air, 
You scarce would start to meet a spirit there; 
Secure that nought of evil could delight 
To walk in such a scene, on such a night! 
It was a moment only for the good: 
So Lara deem'd, nor longer there he stood, 
But turn'd in silence to his castle-gate; 
Such scene his soul no more could contemplate.<...Read more of this...

by Moore, Marianne
...its estate of peace
as a boat rises
with the rising of the water;"
constrained in speaking of the serpent --
that shed snakeskin in the history of politeness
not to be returned to again --
that invaluable accident
exonerating Adam.
And he has beauty also;
it's distressing -- the O thou
to whom, from whom,
without whom nothing -- Adam;
"something feline,
something colubrine" -- how true!
a crouching mythological monster
in that Persian miniature of emerald mines,
raw silk...Read more of this...

by Milton, John
...t vessel, fittest imp of fraud, in whom 
To enter, and his dark suggestions hide 
From sharpest sight: for, in the wily snake 
Whatever sleights, none would suspicious mark, 
As from his wit and native subtlety 
Proceeding; which, in other beasts observed, 
Doubt might beget of diabolick power 
Active within, beyond the sense of brute. 
Thus he resolved, but first from inward grief 
His bursting passion into plaints thus poured. 
More justly, seat worthier of Gods, as...Read more of this...

by Milton, John servants feet; so now, 
As father of his family, he clad 
Their nakedness with skins of beasts, or slain, 
Or as the snake with youthful coat repaid; 
And thought not much to clothe his enemies; 
Nor he their outward only with the skins 
Of beasts, but inward nakedness, much more. 
Opprobrious, with his robe of righteousness, 
Arraying, covered from his Father's sight. 
To him with swift ascent he up returned, 
Into his blissful bosom reassumed 
In glory, as of old...Read more of this...

by Wilde, Oscar
...ese halls.
The broken chain lies rusting on the door,
And noisome weeds have split the marble floor:
Here lurks the snake, and here the lizards run
By the stone lions blinking in the sun.
Byron dwelt here in love and revelry
For two long years - a second Anthony,
Who of the world another Actium made!
Yet suffered not his royal soul to fade,
Or lyre to break, or lance to grow less keen,
'Neath any wiles of an Egyptian queen.
For from the East there came a mighty cr...Read more of this...

by Milton, John
...not to reject 
The penitent, but ever to forgive,
Are drawn to wear out miserable days,
Entangl'd with a poysnous bosom snake,
If not by quick destruction soon cut off
As I by thee, to Ages an example.

Dal: Yet hear me Samson; not that I endeavour
To lessen or extenuate my offence,
But that on th' other side if it be weigh'd
By it self, with aggravations not surcharg'd,
Or else with just allowance counterpois'd 
I may, if possible, thy pardon find
The easier towards me, ...Read more of this...

by Whitman, Walt
...settling in hollows, and the great monsters lying low; 
In vain the buzzard houses herself with the sky; 
In vain the snake slides through the creepers and logs; 
In vain the elk takes to the inner passes of the woods; 
In vain the razor-bill’d auk sails far north to Labrador;
I follow quickly, I ascend to the nest in the fissure of the cliff. 

I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and
I stand and look at them long ...Read more of this...

by Jeffers, Robinson
...weasel, a tongue of yellow
Fire licking the sides of the gray stones,
Has a more passionate and more pure heart
In the snake-slender flanks than man can imagine;
But he is betrayed by his own courage,
The man who kills him is like a cloud hiding a star.

Then praise the jewel-eyed hawk and the tall blue heron;
The black cormorants that fatten their sea-rock
With shining slime; even that ruiner of anthills
The red-shafted woodpecker flying,
A white star between blood-colo...Read more of this...

by Goldsmith, Oliver
...dark scorpion gathers death around;
Where at each step the stranger fears to wake
The rattling terrors of the vengeful snake;
Where crouching tigers wait their hapless prey,
And savage men more murderous still than they;
While oft in whirls the mad tornado flies,
Mingling the ravaged landscape with the skies.
Far different these from every former scene,
The cooling brook, the grassy-vested green,
The breezy covert of the warbling grove,
That only sheltered thefts of harm...Read more of this...

by Bridges, Robert Seymour
...ind thy friends, if there be one to love thee:
Casting thee forth, my child, I rise above thee. 

The fabled sea-snake, old Leviathan,
Or else what grisly beast of scaly chine
That champ'd the ocean-wrack and swash'd the brine,
Before the new and milder days of man,
Had never rib nor bray nor swindging fan
Like his iron swimmer of the Clyde or Tyne,
Late-born of golden seed to breed a line
Of offspring swifter and more huge of plan. 
Straight is her going, for upon...Read more of this...

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
How far I faltered from my quest and vow? 
For after I had lain so many nights 
A bedmate of the snail and eft and snake, 
In grass and burdock, I was changed to wan 
And meagre, and the vision had not come; 
And then I chanced upon a goodly town 
With one great dwelling in the middle of it; 
Thither I made, and there was I disarmed 
By maidens each as fair as any flower: 
But when they led me into hall, behold, 
The Princess of that castle was the one, 
Brother, and tha...Read more of this...

by Bukowski, Charles
...beautiful of 5 sisters. Cass was the most beautiful girl
in town. 1/2 Indian with a supple and strange body, a snake-like and fiery body with eyes
to go with it. Cass was fluid moving fire. She was like a spirit stuck into a form that
would not hold her. Her hair was black and long and silken and whirled about as did her
body. Her spirit was either very high or very low. There was no in between for Cass. Some
said she was crazy. The dull o...Read more of this...

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...eared a font of stone 
And drew, from butts of water on the slope, 
The fountain of the moment, playing, now 
A twisted snake, and now a rain of pearls, 
Or steep-up spout whereon the gilded ball 
Danced like a wisp: and somewhat lower down 
A man with knobs and wires and vials fired 
A cannon: Echo answered in her sleep 
From hollow fields: and here were telescopes 
For azure views; and there a group of girls 
In circle waited, whom the electric shock 
Dislinked with shrieks...Read more of this...

by Plath, Sylvia

And the great swan, with its terrible look,
Coming at me, like a castle, from the top of the river.
There is a snake in swans.
He glided by; his eye had a black meaning.
I saw the world in it--small, mean and black,
Every little word hooked to every little word, and act to act.
A hot blue day had budded into something.

I wasn't ready. The white clouds rearing
Aside were dragging me in four directions.
I wasn't ready.
I had no reverence.Read more of this...

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Book: Shattered Sighs