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.

About this Poem

“Rattlesnake Mountain Fable II” was published in Advice: A Book of Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 1920).