They're not really snakes but when men see me
They take one look at the fire in my eyes and think, snakes.
Once I've shut the door, I say, take me or else,
And I hold fast with my eyes until they take one step,
Then two steps, and as they step they hate their feet.
It wasn't always this way, you know. Once I was a girl
Lithe as reeds, and men sought to hide themselves
In my leaves. Now it's this summerwood I've put on
That makes me so unbending. Men go for the ax.
I go for the woodcutter and cut him with my eyes.
But now comes this tricky one with his mirror.
I've heard him say that he will turn me to stone
Then cut off my head with his long knife,
All those snakes a-dangling down,
And I'm thinking, the wind breaks no stone;
No stone has desire, none has memory;
Age leaves no wrinkles in stone; stones
Have cool skins and live in stillness. Young man:
Give it here. Let me see my face.