Tuesday Poem: Hunting Snake by Judith Wright

Sun-warmed in this late season’s grace
under the autumn’s gentlest sky
we walked, and froze half-through a pace.
The great black snake went reeling by.

 Head down, tongue flickering on the trail
he quested through the parting grass,
sun glazed his curves of diamond scale
and we lost breath to see him pass.

 What track he followed, what small food
fled living from his fierce intent,
we scarcely thought; still as we stood
our eyes went with him as he went.

Cold, dark and splendid he was gone
into the grass that hid his prey.
We took a deeper breath of day,
looked at each other, and went on.

© Judith Wright,
from Hunting Snake, 1964
Black Rat Snake
Judith Arundell Wright (31 May 1915 – 25 June 2000) was a leading Australian poet, environmentalist and campaigner for Aboriginal land rights. She was a founding member and, from 1964 to 1976, President, of the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland. She was only  the second Australian to receive the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry, in 1991.

Collections include:   The Moving Image, Woman to Man, The Gateway, The Two Fires, Birds, The Other Half, Magpies, Shadow, The Flame Tree, and Hunting Snake.  Her Collected Poems was published by Angus and Robertson in 1994 and can be bought from Amazon (kindle and pback) from £5.00 upwards.


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