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Diane Ackerman

“One morning as I closed the cyclone-fence gate / to begin a slow drift / down to the cookhouse on foot / (because my truck wheels were glued / in deep mud once again), / I walked straight into / the waiting non-arms of a snake, / its tan beaded-bag skin / studded with black diamonds.

Up it coiled to speak to me a eye level. / Imagine! that sleek finger / rising out of the land's palm / and coiling faster than a Hindu rope. / The thrill of a bull snake / startled in the morning / when the mesas lie pooled / in a custard of light / kept me bright than ball lightning all day.

Praise leapt first to mind / before flight or danger, / praise that knows no half-truth, and pardons all.”


Diane Ackerman, I Praise My Destroyer: Poems
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I Praise My Destroyer: Poems I Praise My Destroyer: Poems by Diane Ackerman
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