The Snakes, a poem by Clive Grewcock at
Roger Starnes

The Snakes

The Snakes

written by: Clive Grewcock


The snakes and crawling cracks (like open canyons) were very real.
Everywhere. Especially en route for the big family shop.

As children, canyons were something we had only heard about
or seen on Saturday morning television.

We didn’t quite know what those expanses of monochrome were,
just that a cowboy would certainly fall if too close to the edge.

We had to dodge the cracks and skip
the tangled reptiles on the pavement

To avoid being bitten, half-stepping to manage the leap.
Failure would surely mean catching bad luck.

I had never fought through a tropical jungle
or wandered into some sun scorched outback

but I knew snakes were to be avoided.
At all costs.

I learned this superstition in childhood,
while landing safely on a clean paving stone.

The reason we have survived the family
dangers in life – over the years.

Now, when I see children screaming or hear
of troubles I tighten my lips and know

they must have clipped the canyons with a heel,
or ignored the concrete snakes

And are now facing the aftermath
that will befall a family.

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