The Snake



Last night as I was coming out of the pub

I saw a funny thing – don’t laugh –

I saw a snake devouring the whole world

And the snake wore my old school scarf.


This morning roadworks buggered up my journey

I missed the early train

I opened the paper for the football news

And I saw the snake again.


This is beginning to worry me just a bit

Perhaps I should see a doctor

I told my wife all about the snake and the scarf

And I think I shocked her.


“For you to see a snake coming out of the pub – ”

“No, I was coming out of the pub, not the snake – ”

“ – Is hardly a surprise, but for it to wear such a scarf –

There must be some mistake.”

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  1. teenylove

     /  December 18, 2011

    Uroboros comes to mind. Humor in poetry a good topic for an essay.

    • Hi, T (E). Thanks.

      I know I was influenced by half-knowledge of some myths, especially an ancient Egyptian one, and (Central American Indian?) art, but I’m afraid I’ll have to look up Uroboros. Roger McGough is a master of wry and sometimes weird humour in poetry – and it is poetry, not just verse.


  2. Caddo Veil

     /  December 18, 2011

    Oh, this is Great Good Fun, Simon! I was so present for the conversational bit with your wife–your clarification to her was simply hilarious! More, please!!

    • The wife, incidentally, is imagined, as indeed is the snake. I see the narrator as a rather upper-middle-class type (who went to a well-known private school whose scarf would be a significant totem), which I am not despite a Cambridge degree. “Middle class” here means people like business managers, doctors, accountants not as in America where it seems to mean much what we used to call “working class”.

      • Caddo Veil

         /  December 19, 2011

        Must say it’s good to know there are others whose lives are peopled by imaginary spouses, etc! Thanks for informing me about the totem–scarf–and I’m indeed impressed by the Cambridge degree.

      • Thanks, Caddo!

        School, college or university scarves and ties mean a lot to some people. I fancy it’s the same with similar establishments in the US.

        When I write “I” in a poem, it isn’t necessarily me, but a character I can empathise with. The “I” of “The Well”, for example, is not meant to be me particularly, but a kind of everyman.

  3. Love dialogue poems….thank you Simon!


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