Rattlesnake Mountain Fable II
August sauntered down the mountain-side, Dropping mottled, turbid wraiths of decay. The air was like an old priest Disrobing without embarrassment Before the dark and candid gaze of night. But these things brought no pause To the saucily determined squirrel. His eyes were hungrily upturned To where the stars hung—icily clustered nuts Dotting trees of solitude. He saw the stars just over the horizon, And they seemed to grow On trees that he could reach. So he scampered on, from branch to branch, Wondering why the fairy nut-trees Ran away from him. But, looking down, he spied A softly wild cheeked mountain pool, And there a handful of fairy nuts Bit into the indigo cupping them. With a squeal of weary happiness The squirrel plunged into the mountain pool, And as he drowned within its soundless heart The fairy nuts were jigging over him, Like the unheard stirring of a poem.
This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on November 10, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.