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SERPENT by Ruth Calder Murphy

As for all poets, poetry is for me a vessel - a way, a channel - by which I am able to reflect, consolidate, heal when needed and move forward...

 Of course, it can also be a way to express the simplest ideas - a way of holding everyday things up to the light and enjoying the way they sparkle.

Painting by Kimberly Crick
We are now in The Year of the Serpent, according to the Chinese Zodiac. It comes round once every twelve years. I wrote my poem, “Serpent” years ago now - in 1998 - before the last “Year of the Serpent”.

For me, this poem holds elements of all the reasons I write.

It’s a reflective poem, looking at my self and how I deal with life, how as human beings we all, to an extent, manifest elements of the serpent, in the way we get knocked back and damaged and need to crawl into our holes for a while before shedding that old skin and moving on to bask in the sunlight again.

It’s also a celebration of life and the fact that we are part of the circle of life, a constant dying and rising again - every new moment, reborn. In many mythologies, the serpent is a symbol of these things. The East, in Native-American Shamanism, is linked with Spirit and with the Eagle totem - with being able to rise above and see the bigger picture.

And of course, the poem is also a word-picture.

Happy Year of the Serpent to you all. May the old and dead fall away, leaving you bursting with new life and blessed with new opportunities.

Painting by Rene Waddell

I shed my skin, snake that I am,
serpent coiled in the setting sun.
I turn around and the world has changed
and my body crawls from its shell again.

Asleep on the rock in the heat of the day,
I bask in the light ‘til the sun slides away.
I slip to the hollow under the stone
when the west claims the sun
 and the daylight is gone.

I look to the past, to the scales I have shed
in the light of the seasons, now lying dead
and I know as I look where the new days dawn,
with the skin that is lost my hope is reborn.

'The Snake Pose' photo-montage by Catherine Ghosh

Ruth Calder Murphy is a writer, artist, music teacher, wife and mother living in London, UK. Her life is wonderfully full of creativity and low-level chaos. She is the author of one published novel, “The Scream,” several books of poetry and one or two as-yet unpublished novels. She is passionate about celebrating the uniqueness of people, questioning the unquestionable and discovering new perspectives on old wonders. She is learning to ride the waves that come along—peaks and troughs—and is waking up to just how wonderful life really is. You can visit Ruth and view more of her art on her website here, or on her Facebook page. Her latest book is available on Amazon here, and here

~If you are interested in seeing your poetry appear in this blog, or submitting a poem by a woman that has inspired you, please click here for submission guidelines. I greatly look forward to hearing from you!~ 


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