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From: Vol.04 N.02 – What are the animals saying?

The Snake

by Michael Farrell

i’m not Building      a House, though i

go Under them      like a Low creek

i’m not Playing      a role when My

de Facto hip      hits the Stage or

bumps the Record      my winding Mind

a human Feeling      a mental Flexing

with a Whiff of dead      bird Or mouse, to

the Discerning. i     head to the Eternal

Verandah, discarding      contortions and Blue

herrings. i Have      a Diamond on my head


some Frost on my tail      and Apple on my fangs

Turning’s what counts      the Steady tone, transfixing

people with Ears and       Winters under their

Belts. i drag my      Belly through the dirt

yet am Clean enough      by the Time i enter

the Australian literature      library to Shed

my skin. i’m Always      there always Travelling

shifting Shape, leaving      a Wriggle where it’d

been Said was nothing      or Maybe a trickle

long Dry. did i      say I’m a feeling


a sober Mood      part grim part True?

Without intent      and yet with Business

to Attend to      social Habits to

pursue and Contest      at my Best i

wear a Helmet      and a Nettle dress

perhaps you Saw me      exit the Ocean

from your Eyrie      or Unblessed yacht?

or Felt me enter      your Swimmers while tanning

but That’s decades      ago. i was Still

highly Pastoral then      not So forgiving


now I’m ecumenical      the Word of god

or Sod suits me      Seduction itself’s

just Education      or lies to Protect

the needy. Rest-      lessness is my Mainstay

the Road as seen      from an Alpine car

or cushioned Chair      Risk need not be

forced. any Minute      Momentum might be

blocked, or Random      disrupted Joying

devolve to Vice      and Spice my life

with Strikes or cut me      Dead, how annoying

Published: July 2017
Michael Farrell

is from Bombala, NSW and lives in Melbourne. His recent books include Cocky’s Joy (Giramondo) and Writing Australian Unsettlement: Modes of Poetic Invention 1796-1945 (Palgrave Macmillan). He edits Flash Cove (

An Australian and international
journal of ecopoetry and ecopoetics.

Plumwood Mountain Journal is created on the unceded lands of the Gadigal and Wangal people of the Eora Nation. We pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and to elders past, present and future. We also acknowledge all traditional custodians of the lands this journal reaches.