Animals: “SNAKES” by Leila Lois

After the woodcut print by Escher

In the winter forests of Cymru, blackened hills, skeleton trees, I remember thinking once I’d seen
an adder’s garnet eyes gleam like dark apples in moss or berries on a dusk cloaked yew, its scales
chromed like chainmail caught by the midnight moon.

The legend of Shahmaran from the Kurdish mountains tells of a snake goddess who lay in a
honeyed well: divine, wise, a vision of beauty, her flesh an elixir for immortality.

I am told, where I now stand, serpent is God of water and before time, beneath orange clay, the
sleeping rainbow serpent lay until, like lava, he emerged casting rivers,  mountains & streams,
eyes open in sleep; a meandering, wakeful dream. Here, the rains leave rainbows, endless
conduit to weave paths from one watering hole to another, renewing parched ground in the
tumult of mid-summer, the unrelenting heat burns for weeks.

Snakes shed precious skin under golden glow; an endless cycle, 
the vital constancy of change, from which all life flows.

About Leila Lois

Author photo of Leila Lois against a light tan background.

Leila Lois is a dancer and writer of Kurdish and Celtic heritage who has lived most of her life in Aotearoa. In her poems, Leila explores a personal sense of origin that, like the ocean, binds several landscapes and times, coming back to the idea that a timeless, boundless love pervades. Her publishing history includes Southerly Journal, Djed Press, NoD Literary Journal, Mayhem Journal, Lite Lit One, Bent Street Journal, and Delving Into Dance.