Sylvia Plath


As the gods began one world, and man another, So the snakecharmer begins a snaky sphere With moon-eye, mouth-pipe, He pipes. Pipes green. Pipes water. Pipes water green until green waters waver With reedy lengths and necks and undulatings. And as his notes twine green, the green river Shapes its images around his sons. He pipes a place to stand on, but no rocks, No floor: a wave of flickering grass tongues Supports his foot. He pipes a world of snakes, Of sways and coilings, from the snake-rooted bottom Of his mind. And now nothing but snakes Is visible. The snake-scales have become Leaf, become eyelid; snake-bodies, bough, breast Of tree and human. And he within this snakedom Rules the writhings which make manifest His snakehood and his might with pliant tunes From his thin pipe. Out of this green nest As out of Eden's navel twist the lines Of snaky generations: let there be snakes! And snakes there were, are, will be--till yawns Consume this pipe and he tires of music And pipes the world back to the simple fabric Of snake-warp, snake-weft. Pipes the cloth of snakes To a melting of green waters, till no snake Shows its head, and those green waters back to Water, to green, to nothing like a snake. Puts up his pipe, and lids his moony eye.

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