Wednesday, July 16, 2014


I never bothered to explain
our first encounter so awkward.
But I'd heard you were smooth,
a killer, with venomous heart,
forked piercing tongue,
maraca rattle and vampire teeth -
aggression you’d hide, to victimize,
the way evil things do.
Your reputation repulsed me.

I could not love you.
I had always wondered about that girl,
who did. Thought she was just neurotic,
maybe psychotic 'cause she even rallied,
advocated for you. She a blind, bleeding heart.
Me so wise and cautious. I laughed at her.
Sorry, I just thought I knew.

Hope you can understand Fred,
Why I prejudged you.
I held on to my fear,
the way we people do,
when ignorance seems so clear,
we sanction the right
to kill

Luckily, I took a chance,
allowed learning to cause change.
I discovered not only beauty
but purpose, even comraderie, shared nature,
the you in you.

I never thanked you Fred,
you taught me all relationships
are about coexistence.
I love you now that I know you,
I'm no longer a threat but a friend,
and friends let friends be free.


(Written for Poets United where Susan challenges us to write about snakes.)

Fred was a true friend.  He appeared in my front yard one morning, lost, confused because of all the construction humans were building around us. He finally chose to live primarily in a flower bed , then moved to another area on the side of the house. 

 Friends would often want to see Fred, who would just lay there unafraid.  I learned to accept him though I respected the innate qualities that come with being a rattlesnake.   Finally, I called an exterminator, not to kill Fred, but to transfer him deeper in the desert where he could live peacefully. I hope he lived a good snake life. 

Many other snakes have visited our home - inside and out.  We have found no need to kill them. They're usually more afraid of us, than we are of them. We do, however, have to be careful with our dogs whose natural curiosity could get them hurt by a snake bite. 

I have some funny and scary memories about snakes.  Don't have time to share them now, but I do marvel at how a girl from the inner city, South Bronx wound up living in the desert having such compassion for snakes.  Life is a marvel. 


  1. Myrna, this is my fave of the snake poems.....LOVE "you taught me all relationships are about coexistence". So true......adore "and friends let friends be free."

  2. smiles. i am glad fred taught you a bit of compassion....snakes fill a role in the cycle of life....and can be quite helpful....i have a blend of those funny and scary moments too...ha...

  3. I love that Fred is real and that you caught part of his story in your poem. Have to say that your note was equally interesting. I hope you tell your snake stories with pictures.

  4. Beautiful. And I hope he lived a wonderful snake life too. I am not comfortable with snakes, but am even less comfortable with the prospect of indiscriminate killing.

  5. I love this ode to the that being Myrna who has earned a bad name for nothing...

  6. Beautiful pooem... I really enjoyed!

  7. Life is a marvel...i kind of forgot the snake theme as I read as this poem works on many levels..Fred the snake obviously played an important role..maybe the choice of name made him less intimidating after a while!

  8. I like your lesson...I like snakes, but sometimes they surprise and it can be scary, when unexpected.

  9. oh i love that you gave friendship a chance myrna and that you learned so much from here... sometimes we need a bit to get through those fences of pre-judgement..glad you did

  10. loved the outlook of this one. first impressions are never accurate and with much gifted insight we can all coexist. good job!

  11. Nice poem, even nicer story. What a wonderful teacher was Fred - and how great that you were so willing to learn. I'm glad he went back to the desert in the end; well done.