The Serpents Sway

a poem by Kenneth Malvyn Clark, UK



Perhaps I dreamed, seduced by Edgar Allen
Poe’s tales, maybe time paused, set me free
of my fettered mind to walk another realm,
whichever, what I saw seemed so real to me.

For what I saw was myself, running down
a wooded twisting country path, breathless
I came to a fork in the pathway, night fell
as I stood lost scared alone in the darkness.

Thankfully nights moon began to rise and
I saw betwixt the forks the vague outline
of a signpost, but alas, ‘twas just a ragtag
saggy scarecrow tied to a post with twine.

I felt afraid, unsure which path right left
which one, then my body started to shake
as I watched the ragtag scarecrows head
change into the monstrous head of a snake.

I stood there in fear, my young life flashed
before my eyes, misdemeanours petty crime
eighteen jobless broke on a spiralling path
but few return, go to jail, all but a tick in time.

It’s eyes bore into mine scarecrow mans
arm pointed, I peed myself began to cry,
my mind clouded, I was on a path, saw
people bowed by heavy burdens pass by.

I stopped an old man asked what was
it he carried to make so heavy his load,
he looked up and said, life my son, life,
he smiled beckoned me to walk his road.

His endless road of people, burdened by
life’s responsibilities hardship and pain,
once more serpents eyes bored into mine
an arm moved, my mind clouded again.

The other path, the same burdened people
passed me by, except for that old man, he
was standing there, helping himself from
peoples burdens, he looked up smiled at me.

I asked him why did he steal from others
had he no guilt no remorse feel no sorrow,
he smiled, then said, easy pickings my son,
easy pickings, then beckoned me to follow.

The serpents head swayed from side to side
his hissing tongue as clear to me as a voice,
he was tempting me to choose which path
to walk, burdened or easy, ‘twas my choice.

Moon shone as day as I watched the head
of the serpent turn again into a scarecrow,
I realised then that we all reach a fork in
life, make our choice which path to follow.

Maybe some toss a coin heads tails roll the
dice ride lady luck or see the serpents sway,
I contemplated long and hard as I stood at
that fork, I smiled, then walked on my way.

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