Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, INTERLUDE IN THE EVERGLADES, by THOMAS CASEY

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

First Line: Pinched in the silence of the swamp
Last Line: And scornfully wiggled away.
Subject(s): Everglades, Florida

Pinched in the silence of the swamp
With the gala-colored moccasin
Meditating at his feet,
He watched, tension dragging at his face,
Each movement of the reptile-rippling skin,
While the black, never uncertain eyes
Measured the distance between,
Like a tentacle unseen.
The balance of life and death

Shook in the hissing of its breath.
A distant minute before,
The command of the brooding swamp,
Of the alligator, the crane and the snake,
Ran gloriously in the pulse of his brain.
These poor, insignificant things
Kneeled at the point of his rifle
As the slaves of a galley to their king.

But now, his gun in a hillock of mud,
And his feet in the suck of a quagmire,
The virtue of mercy
No longer was his.

The snake, in the comfort of its coil,
Took into consideration
The matter of civilization,
And mindful of all,
Abandoned its civilized prey
And scornfully wiggled away.

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