Summary of “Hunting Snake”

Book Name : Bliss English Textbook For Class IX Second Language
Subject : Bliss
Class : 9th (Madhyamik/WB)
Publisher : Prof. Nabanita Chatterjee
Chapter Name : Hunting Snake (12th chapter)

About the author

Judith Ar undell Wright (1915-2000) was an Australian poet and environmentalist Among several collections of her poetry, the most notable are The Moving Image, Woman to Man, The Gateway and many more.

(30 words)

Introduction of the poem

The following poem describes the poet’s experience of watching a black snake as it makes its way across an area of grassland The poet looks on, fascinated, as the snake hunts for food and finally disappears.

(36 words)

Summary of the Poem

Bliss IX 103

In this poem, the speaker describes a moment of encountering a black snake while walking through a grassland in the late autumn. The snake appears to be on the hunt, and the speaker is mesmerized by its movements and beauty as it passes by, its diamond scales reflecting the sun. The speaker ponders what the snake might be searching for and the small creatures it may be preying on. Despite the potential danger the snake poses, the speaker and their companion are captivated by its grace and power. The snake eventually disappears into the grass, and the speaker and their companion take a moment to appreciate the beauty of the encounter before continuing on their way. Through this encounter with nature, the speaker reflects on the awe-inspiring and often mysterious aspects of the natural world, and the importance of taking the time to appreciate them.

(150 words)

The theme of the poem

The theme of the poem is the awe-inspiring beauty of nature and the encounter with a majestic black snake in the grass.

Explanation of the Poem

This poem describes a moment when the speaker and their companion encounter a black snake while taking a walk in a late autumn landscape. The snake’s presence and movements captivate the observers. Let’s break down the poem stanza by stanza:

Stanza 1:

“Sun-warmed in the late season’s grace

under the autumn’s gentlest sky

we walked and froze half-through a pace.

The great black snake went reeling by.”

In the first stanza, the poem sets the scene. The speaker and their companion are walking on a late autumn day with the sun providing some warmth. However, the atmosphere is described as chilly as they “froze half-through a pace.” They observe a large black snake passing by.

Stanza 2:

“Head down, tongue flickering on the trail

He quested through the parting grass.

Sun glazed his curves of diamond scale

And we lost breath to see him pass.”

In the second stanza, the focus is on the snake’s actions and appearance. The snake’s head is lowered as it flickers its tongue along its path, possibly in search of prey. The sun illuminates the snake’s “curves of diamond scale,” creating a mesmerizing effect that leaves the observers breathless.

Stanza 3:

“What track he followed, what small food

Fled living from his fierce Intent,

we scarcely thought; still as we stood

our eyes went with him as he went.”

The third stanza reflects on the snake’s purpose and actions. The speaker and their companion are so enthralled by the snake’s presence that they give little thought to the snake’s intentions or the prey it may be seeking. They remain still, entranced by the snake’s journey.

Stanza 4:

“Cold, dark and splendid he was gone

Into the grass that hid his prey.

We took a deeper breath of day.

Looked at each other; and went on.”

In the fourth and final stanza, the snake, described as “cold, dark, and splendid,” disappears into the grass, possibly having found its prey. The observers, after witnessing this captivating encounter, take a deep breath and exchange glances before continuing their walk. The poem suggests that this encounter with nature adds depth and beauty to their day.

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