Yesterday I started to worry at a draft poem that I found in my notebook. It was started a year ago and is provisionally called Monsters.
The appearance of the creature in the photo on my verandah today was entirely fortuitous.
That picture doesn’t give much idea of scale, but if you click you’ll see her full length. She was a good two tiles long and they are 24 cm across. (So, allowing for the ripples, I suppose she was around 18 inches from nose to tail tip.)*
I don’t know much about snakes, but I gather from IberiaNature that:
Of the estimated 50 snakebite deaths a year in Europe, only 3-6 occur in Spain […]. More people die from bee and wasp stings.
I’ve been stung by a bee here (see post of bats, bees and bras) and survived – though the bee didn’t – and my first reaction on seeing a snake is to run for a camera.
After nosing around on google, I begin to think she might have been a young Montpellier snake, in which case she was indeed poisonous, and I’m glad she was persuaded to leave before the cats arrived.
There is a snake in the current draft of Monsters, but the poem is nowhere near finished. Anyway, I am fairly sure I won’t manage anything as impressive as D H Lawrence’s Snake:
A snake came to my water-trough
On a hot, hot day, and I in pyjamas for the heat,
To drink there.
In the deep, strange-scented shade of the great dark carob-tree
I came down the steps with my pitcher
And must wait, must stand and wait, for there he was at the trough before me.
The whole poem can be read over on Poemhunter. If you don’t know it, it’s definitely worth reading. (And if you are already familiar with it, it’s worth re-reading.)
*For those wondering why I chose to refer to my visitor as female, it’s because the Spanish words I know for snake are serpiente and culebra, both of which are feminine nouns.