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A Small Snake

Out of the juniper, bayberry ledge Slipping through grass, a small snake Catches the morning glance of sun Hesitates in prudent test of rule Deliberately lifts its head to one who rests Beneath a tree. This man, Old Adam, Awkward in late extremities Draws in, surprised by simple wonder. Now each holds back in silent reappraisal Of what went wrong in the Beginning. The snake moves first; and when forbearance meets Its slight, inquiring glide, its subtle grace, It skimmers off to reaffirm its right To this rock wedge of paradise Leaving behind one biding, wiser man.

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