The Rattlesnake

A poem by John Charles McNeill

Coiled like a clod, his eyes the home of hate,
Where rich the harvest bows, he lies in wait,
Linking earth's death and music, mate with mate.

Is 't lure, or warning? Those small bells may sing
Like Ariel sirens, poised on viewless wing,
To lead stark life where mailed death is king;

Else nature's voice, in that cold, earthy thrill,
Bids good avoid the venomed fang of ill,
And life and death fight equal in her will.

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