Sisters & Snakes

Our recent burst of poetry reminded me of another type of poem I shared way back in the early days of the Blind Pig & the Acorn. It’s called a Cinquain. I learned about the form of poetry from Granny Sue, a storyteller from West Virginia. (click on her name to learn more about the poetry)

I wrote 3 Cinquains after reading about them on Granny Sue’s blog. Out of the 3 my favorite was the one about sisters:

Sisters in appalachia

Silly Sweet

Love Hate Forgive

Hurry Mom Is Coming



After revisiting the Sisters cinquain, I was inspired to write another one.

A few days ago Chatter and Chitter’s school attended a college fair. While walking into the fair the girls noticed a snake crawling along the sidewalk. The girls decided to alert the gentleman directing traffic before any of the other kids became alarmed.

He reached down and grabbed the snake. The snake quickly wrapped itself around his arm. Buses from several local high schools chose that very moment to pull into the already crowded parking lot. The gentleman ran back to traffic directing duty-with his snake braceleted arm hidden behind his back. Chatter and Chitter said it was the coolest thing they had ever seen!


Black Scaly

Writhing Twisting Grasping

Truly holding on tight



I hope you enjoyed the photos and the Cinquains. There has been an unusually high number of snake sightings and snake bitings around my neck of the woods this summer.

We started off the summer with the black snake that tried to eat the baby birds on the porch. Then along the way we had one brown snake try to get in the house vent below the gutter, one brown snake slithering along by the basement steps, one king snake trying to make a home on the front porch and the copperhead laying in the path to the chicken coop which me and Chitter stepped over not once-but 4 times one evening trying to get the chickens put up.


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  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    October 4, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    We don’t have many snakes here in the sandhills. Not sure why! We do have many many skinks (tiny lizards) which the cats try to make into toys, against our rules.
    I put dozens of resin birdhouses around on the ground for the toads, frogs and skinks to run to if a cat is after them, but they usually run instead of running for cover, and that doesn’t work with a cat who is quickly upon them.
    Maybe I need to put little “Welcome” signs in front of the little houses so the little critters will know they can use them for safety or shelter.
    Ya think? LOL
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Susie Swanson
    September 14, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    Scary looking with him holding that snake. I could never do Love the cinquains. Snakes have been really bad and I was thinking it was because of so much rain too. We live near a creek and when it’s hot and dry they’re bad to crawl through our yard to the creek. We have a lot of Water Moccasins too.

  • Reply
    September 14, 2013 at 12:47 am

    I truly enjoyed the cinquains, especially Tamela’s contrasting styles.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    September 13, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    I loved the cinquains! There is a reason for the many varmints producing and abundance.
    Of foliage, ticks, itty bitty buggies, stinkem ones and lady ones, and the creepy crawlies on the ground…Snakes…
    The reason is the season to follow, to produce enough so some survive…I hope it isn’t a bad one, but all I have heard it is going to be a bad…!
    The cold
    with steely clutch
    Grips all the land….Alack,
    The little people in the hills
    Will die!
    ~~~Adelaide Crapsey~~~
    Look up,
    From bleakening hills
    Blows down the light, first breath
    Of wintry wind..look up, and scent
    The snow!
    ~~~Adelaide Crapsey~~~
    I can’t take credit for these cinquains…so well written by the inventor of the American version of the five line poem…
    Adelaide Crapsey famous woman poet!
    I have written cinquains, not knowing the history behind them…
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS…An early frost would help drive the snakes back under the rocks on the hills…We have seen many black snakes this year…and very friendy ones to boot…No copperheads so far…but I’m not giving up watching my step..
    My cat is so scaredy, that he moves with small steps, looking in both directions before taking another step. That tells me he has seen his share of snakes this summer!

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    September 13, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    I don’t remember Cinquain poetry
    from the early times on the Blind
    Pig. Must have missed that one!
    But it’s interesting to see how
    words come together to complete a
    The picture of the guy holding the
    black snake behind him is neat. I
    realize they’re the best Rat Trap
    you can have, as long as I don’t
    see ’em. Haven’t seen any poison
    snakes so far this year…Ken

  • Reply
    September 13, 2013 at 10:32 am

    Oh Tipper – you have inspired my diversion of the day!
    I especially enjoyed Ed Ammons’ cinquain with its play on words and was inspired to write about our opposite problem, the lack of rain:
    When will it come?
    Moisture in any form
    Deep cracks form, powdery dust blows
    Lifegiving magic
    Misting, sprinkling, showering
    Longing for it’s visit
    Actually, after my last post of “no rain in the forecast”, we did get some unexpected and greatly appreciated showers. Our area is still wavers between severe and extreme drought so every drop is welcomed.
    The other inspiration is the “view” from my desk:
    What is inside?
    Hidden treasures, mem’ries
    Waiting for my touch and new life
    So long
    Brown rectangles
    Bulging, protecting, hiding
    Overwhelmed by unpacking, sorting
    – so much for my diversion.
    Back to my thirsty gardens, re-discovered memories, and daily “adventures”

  • Reply
    Patti Tappel
    September 13, 2013 at 10:11 am

    Snakes have shown their ugly heads a lot more here this summer too.
    One copperhead lost his head after he bit our black lab. Poor dog survived but the first 36 hours is rough on him.
    Then there was a black snake in the yard and the next day a copperhead was at my front door.
    That copperhead also lost his head thanks to a neighbor to the rescue, as the blacksmith was away on a squirrel hunt for the week!.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 13, 2013 at 9:58 am

    Cool picture of the snake wrapped around his arm. It’s a Black Snake?
    Good poem to go with the picture.
    Your Sisters poem sums up the girls completely. They are very special and prescious girls

  • Reply
    September 13, 2013 at 9:32 am

    Yes, there has been a great number of snakes in our area of Caldwell county. Especially, a great number of copperheads. I havee been extremely careful weeding my areas. It is never my mission while enjoying my gardens to have that joy spoiled by meeting up with any snake. Great poetry for sure! I used to have my students make a poetry booklet each year with nine or ten different types of poetry. I hope they kept their writings as many of them put a lot of work into them with some art included. It was a lot of work gradig over a hundred sixy of them each year, but it was well worth it if my students were able to keep them and enjoy them in their later years.

  • Reply
    September 13, 2013 at 8:49 am

    A sream comes out of my mouth before my brain attempts to identify the snake. I am a bit relieved when I see it is black. Always love poetry. Cool picture!

  • Reply
    September 13, 2013 at 8:25 am

    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 13, 2013 at 8:16 am

    Gentle Cleansing
    Increasing Unceasing Torrent
    Dam Water Cannot be Contained

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    September 13, 2013 at 7:22 am

    I really like the poems. As to the snakes…I am not afraid of them, but my lack of knowledge about which ones are poison gives me a healthy respect for them.

  • Reply
    Tim Mc
    September 13, 2013 at 6:41 am

    Snakes generally don’t bother me if I see them first, (except poisonous ones), and ones trying to get into the house. I use to have a chicken snake living in my shop he or she would stay on the rafters until one day it started staying under my shop table, well, that was ok for a while until it got to getting to close to my feet while I’d be standing there. One day I caught it and walked off down in the woods and released it, I didn’t see it anymore.. Best mouse trap I ever had..

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