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"This for the birds of pleasure ..."
The early morning air at streamside --
criss-crossed, hung
With an intricate lace, then long
streamers, of the birdsong
As I tie on a fresh Royal Wulff ,
size 14.
on a hillside
There's a movement, and a snake suddenly underfoot
sliding in the heat, through the dry tangle
Of brown grass and thistles, dead stalks
of wildfl owers. A California Kingsnake it is,
In plain view; he's entering the rock-pile
beside me, out on his rounds.
The fresh enamel gleam of the close-fi tted
scales unblurred by the dust
He goes upon, his bands of ivory and black,
crooked-edged, ride motionless
In his gliding. Now, fi ne-tapered tail-tip quivering
into thin air, he inches
Himself through a tight bend. Now
a three-inch section of him shows
At an opening, the bands like box-cars
travelling past steadily.
Note: The quotations at the top of the poems are taken from Isaac Walton's
The Compleat Angler, except for the couplet from John Weever above XVI.