Submitted by Duncan Richardson

on a patch of lawn near reception
a red-bellied black snake suns itself
into gun metal glare
scaring a passing child in its stillness
or is it the jab in her mother’s voice
“Look out!  Snake!”

I absorb the languid coils of its body
wondering how hard muscle and lightning
can disguise themselves as silk
– sunlight blades from its scales
into my eyes

that night I try to inhabit snake consciousness
wondering where the creature is
and if its memory stretches
to that morning

but snake mind is beyond the radar of words
so all I hear is a hollow ‘ping’
as the beams come back


Are you a literary writer or poet? Send us your best work!
Photo Credit: Otto Marseus van Schrieck – Still Life with Snake, Butterfly and Mushrooms


Published by

The Vita Brevis Team

“Ars longa, vita brevis" (art is long, life is short). This maxim so moved us that it seemed only right to title our online poetry magazine after it. It may seem curious that we chose Vita Brevis (life is short) as our title instead of Ars Longa (art is long). But this choice was more than appropriate; after all, the aim of our journal is to publish work that shows a keen awareness of not only art’s beauty and immortality but life’s toils and finiteness. We want to revive and nourish the rich existential literature that forms when art and the human endeavor collide.

4 thoughts on “Scales”

  1. SCALES is carefully observed, rhythmically smooth; syllables tuned to a sterling fork. Excellent work. Best I’ve seen to date on VITA BREVIS.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s