See the bulbous body
Slither through the rocks
On the desert floor.

This is one of God's creatures to be avoided.
He has just devoured the hopes
Of a peaceful life for a number of small innocents.
He seeks a place in the sun
To warm his cold body
And perhaps give those about him
The illusion of peace and tranquility.

Is he dangerous you might ask?

Stretched to his full length
And with his beady eyes closed
You can approach as close as you like
And some have actually touched his scaley skin.

'Only a mother could love, '
Is the term that comes to mind.
But wait, this throwback to Adam and Eve's days
In this garden is truly evil personified.
He tempts by offering something
That he does not have,
And only after the bargain is struck
Do those who have been participants
In his schemes find only he wins.

Society long ago learned
That he has no friends,
Only providers.
He will as gladly bite the hand
That feeds him as any other.
Doing so with no remorse,
For you see this creature
Of the sands, has no mind.
He reacts by instinct;
Strike and kill,
That is his only way of life.
It has served him well.

In past times he has mesmerized those about him,
Causing them to believe that he is their 'friend.'
Sadly, they discover that this rattlesnake
Has no other interest than his own.

The venom that he carries in his mouth
Is a quick acting poison that kills.
It matters not whether it be
Some small innocent creature,
Or one of his own.

He must be fed and song birds,
Insects, mice, rabbits and
Even those of his own species,
He readily devours.

How else do you explain his ability to survive?
He is a killer without remorse.

'But how do you handle such a demon? ' you ask.
A sage once replied when asked,
'How to dismount from a tiger's back'.
His reply, 'Very carefully.'
And that is how you must deal
With this loathsome serpent.

There is a religious element,
The snake handlers,
Who see him as a tool of their religion.
Foolishly, they believe
That his actions are to their benefit.
It is only when their own children
Are destroyed as a consequence
Of his striking out, that they may
Come to sense the pain and agony
Of others that are his victims.

No, appeasement is not a solution.
He must be isolated.
Killing him is not an answer either,
As another will just as likely
Emerge from his den
And assume the same antisocial ways.

Enclose him in glass walls
So that he can be displayed,
And carefully note
With words, pictures and sounds
The evil that he has caused.
In this way,
Our children will come to appreciate
The devil's handiwork.

They must not fear the snake,
He in fact is harmless
Once drained of his venom.
But protect the innocents
From his marauding,
For within a short time
His sacks will be refilled with poison
And he will strike again,
If not contained.

The rattlesnake's name?

by Sidi J. Mahtrow

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