The Black Snake

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

In the center
of our galaxy
the Milky Way,
a great black snake lives
and mesmerizes stars
so they will
get close enough
for her to swallow—
while, at the same time,
she gives birth
to new stars.
They come out of her
and go flying off
into the cosmos
as far as they can go
to escape
her clutches.

Copyright © 2011, White Ermine Across Her Shoulders


Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, Poetry

25 responses to “The Black Snake

  1. sonjabingen

    I saw a documentary on this and it was the most fascinating thing I have ever seen.

  2. thomag1

    You are a poet, Ethel. I wish I had your flare! Your ideas, and Thomas’s, seem to be endless….I appreciate reading your site. Thanks for the inspiration that makes many of us to want to continue to share our thoughts and ‘songs’ of life.


  3. Mmmm ! Intriguing. Love david

  4. Beautiful…science meets the poetic,,.

  5. Julie Catherine

    Love this, Ethel – I’ve watched a documentary on this too, and was thoroughly fascinated by it. I love how you blend nature and science into a perfect poetic interpretation. Very nicely written. ~ Julie 🙂

  6. Ethel, this is a fascinating, poetic interpretation of the nature of the universe – constantly renewing itself, evolving and expanding – while it “recycles” on a cosmic scale. Wonderful writing, as always!!

  7. Wonderful reminder of this old tradition. Giving birth to stars out of the blackness twisting through the universe–wonderful!

  8. I believe that stars and the unborn babies are linked.The many twinkling stars to me are as yet unborn souls.xx

  9. extrasimile

    This poem reminds me of some music by Alice Coltrane called ‘Andromeda’s Suffering’. It would make excellent pairing with this poem, Ethel. (I just looked. You can hear it on Grooveshark.)

  10. This is beautiful – I wish I had written this one!!! 🙂


  11. I shall print this off.
    Then the next time we have a clear night I shall read it before stepping out on my balcony to look at the stars.


  12. The Milky Way, pregnancy, being drawn to one another, great images~


  13. I dig the reference, but it also reminded me of an unrelated astronomical phenomenon, because you speak of dark animals up there. We have stories about the patterns of stars; this, I think, is a good addition to the much smaller pool of stories about the patterns in between them.

  14. Destruction and renewal and… so well put. I love how finely the words are chosen.

  15. Such a fitting image, I think!

  16. I think you’ve caught everyone’s imagination with this image, Ethel; mine definitely included!

  17. I much prefer this explanation to all that ridiculous “scientific” nonsense. 😛

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