This poem I wrote as a reply to Mary Oliver’s poem ‘The Summer Day’. Oliver’s poem sparked certain emotions which fueled this poem. I recommend reading Oliver’s poem before reading this if you want to view it as a reply or you could read it as it own original poem.
A Summer Snake
Who are you to ask me that?
What if there is nothing I want to do with my life?
What if I cannot decide, and am stuck in this endless cycle
of boredom and silence?
I want to experience a summer day like yours.
I yearn to hear more than the white noise in my mind;
to take a walk without questioning my existence.
I do not see the grasshopper;
in the tall grass lies a snake.
He is coiled and cold.
Staring at me- with never blinking eyes.
His head bobs back and forth, as if he’s sizing me up.
Am I the predator, or prey?
I beg that he does not throw himself at me,
the way your grasshopper did.
Sometimes being attentive is a curse, being aware all the time.
It makes it near impossible
to enjoy a summers day.
Why is your version so sweet, like the sugar in your palm?
Mine is filled with a flicking tongue and venom.
He’s on the move now,
heading straight for me.
Why won’t this snake just leave?
Wrapping his way up my body,
a shiver runs up my spine.
My overactive, anxious mind doesn’t need encouragement.
So why did you ask those questions?
Why don’t I know what to do with this precious life?
I have been bitten.
– Ashleigh Tucker