‘Snake’ is one of Lawrence’s best animal poems, written while he lived in Sicily. It explores the relationship between humans and one of the most feared reptiles on earth – a venomous snake. The poem is set in the poet’s backyard, where there is a water-trough. When the poet goes to the trough to fill a pitcher with water for his own use, he encounters a snake which has come to the trough before him. The entire poem revolves around this very encounter.
This poem questions about our modern day individual responses to animals often regarded as parasitic creatures. Creatures that go about their daily business in their natural environment have to put up with increased human interference and habitat destruction where sharing sometimes isn’t an option. In the poem, ‘Snake’, D.H. Lawrence shows that it is not only necessary to share with wild animals but to show tolerance and understanding. The poem has something in it for everyone. It’s a simple clash between a man and an animal, a scenario acted out a million times a day worldwide. It’s a subtle story of how a human reacts to a venomous creature born to slither on the ground and live in the dark and swallow its prey whole.
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