Friday, August 4, 2017

A curl of water slips along a stone

From The New Yorker
The Garter Snake
by Eric Ormsby

The stately ripple of the garter snake
In sinuous procession through the grass
Compelled my eye. It stopped and held its head
High above the lawn, and the delicate curve
Of it slender body formed a letter "S" -
For 'serpent', I presume, as though
Diminutive majesty obliged embodiment

The garter snake reminded me of those
Cartouches where the figure of a snake
Seems to suggest the presence of God
Until more flickering than any god
The small snake gathered glidingly and slid,
But with such cadence to its rapid advance
That when it stopped once more to raise its head
It was stiller than the stillest mineral
And when it moved again moved the way
Or like the ardent progress of a tear
Till, deeper still, it gave the rubbled grass
And the dull hollows where its ripple ran
Lithe scintillas of exuberance,
Moving the way a chance felicity
Silvers the whole attention of the mind.

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