The snake trying
to escape the pursuing stick,
with sudden curvings of thin
long body. How beautiful
and graceful are his shapes!
The poem begins in the middle of a commotion. The poet gives the picture of a violent situation, showing signs of restlessness, anger and fear. He describes a seemingly gruesome scene where a snake is trying to escape the clutches of his attackers. Snakes, in general, are considered to be a threat to human beings. Humans prioritize survival over any other thing and therefore are always on their watch. They might not want to take the slightest chance by risking their own lives. Although a complete picture of the scenario is not given, as to how the humans' encounter with the snake went about, the poem starts with the picture of a snake trying to escape for its life. The beginning of the poem thus sets the mood to the entire theme of the poem.
The snake is trying to escape the pursuing sticks, indicating that he is being chased by a lot of people with sticks in their hands, with the sole purpose of hitting him. This line in the poem is of a high significance as it points out the power play between the humans and the reptiles. Contrary to the general belief that snakes are harmful and can kill humans, non-venomous snakes are less dangerous. But there is a lack of awareness among human beings and an unnecessary fear about snakes. In this case, the snake is being chased and it tries to slip away. If snakes were indeed dangerous, then it could have turned back on them and passed its venom on them. But the fact that it is crawling away for its dear life shows that it is an innocent being who had not entered into their lives on purpose. Generally, wild animals and snakes do not attack anyone unless they feel intimidated by them.
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Angry people with sticks
The poet describes the snake's attempt to escape in detail. The snake does not crawl in a linear position. He moves in curves as it is difficult to track something that goes in curves, compared to that which goes in a straight line. In the next line, the readers get a picture of the type of snake that he is. It is not a large python or cobra, but rather a snake that has a very thin and long body. Most of these thread snakes are harmless to humans. The poet differs in his stance from the rest of the group, as he does not look at the dangerous aspect but chooses to look at the beauty of the snake. He adores the shape of the creature, as it gracefully moves its slender body across the floor. He tries to look at the beauty in all of God's creation. Each of the creatures in the world have a separate purpose and reason for their existence. It is important to find the beauty in these little things. Although it is important to safeguard oneself from danger, man does not have the authority to destroy another fellow creature, that does not cause any harm to him. Snakes are a part of nature and thus form a part of the eco system. But when humans take control and invade into their space, it might sometimes lead to trouble. The poet emphasizes on the fact that humans need to let other creatures to live in peace as long as they do not attack them. Attacking and invading into their space only for the sake of exerting one's dominance is not encouraged by the poet.
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Green snake trying to escape
Meaning of difficult words:
PursuingTo follow or chase
CurvingsA bend without any straight lines
GracefulAn elegant movement With proper balance
CommotionA disturbed environment
GruesomeFrightful and scary
ClutchTo hold tightly
PrioritizeRanking a group of things in the order of importance
Power playAn attempt to show that one is more powerful than the other
VenomousEvil or poisonous
IntimidatedTo be frightened
LinearStraight line
StanceTaking a stand or having an opinion
SlenderBeing thin
Eco systemThe connection between plant, animals and other organisms in an environment
InvadeTo enter by force
DominanceBeing in the position of power
National Council of Educational Research and Training (2006). Beehive. The Snake Trying- W.W.E. Ross (pp 125-126). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi.