A Speckled Crested Snake

Neidyr vreith gribawc:
cant eneit trwy bechawt
a boenir yn y cnawt.’

A speckled crested snake:
a hundred souls, on account of (their) sin,
are tortured in its flesh.’
The Battle of the Trees

A speckled crested snake
rises, falls, slips, like heartache
through ashes in the wake

of worlds that rise and fall.
Handless, legless, she crawls
writhed by agonised calls

of a hundred doomed souls
that hang like birdsong – whole
legions swallowed in halls

where the live can’t follow
where they’re pierced by sorrows –
sins lined in endless rows.

They drown in her venom
which sears, abrades, strips them
of skin, flesh, bone, wisdom

of pain making them one
with her: scaled, speckled. None
escapes as she writhes on.

She seeks a hundred more.
Feeds, grows, fattens, on war.
No-one can stop her maw

devouring what we’ve left.
No spear can bring her death.
No word can end her breath.

We’ll be inside her soon.

A Speckled Crested Snake Large
‘A speckled crested snake / rises, falls, slips like heartache / through ashes in the wake / of worlds that rise and fall.’
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One thought on “A Speckled Crested Snake

  1. Your use of rhymed triplets is very effective here in carrying the narrative forward.
    The pic is particularly good too!

    I wonder at your use of the ‘sin’ reference from The Battle of the Trees. There’s quite a bit of christian symbolism in that part of the poem and your transference of ‘sin’ here certainly fits thematically, but I wonder if ‘fate’ might suit your context better, especially in light of the the final line?

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