A Delicacy of Adder

by | Mar 13, 2019 | Poetry

Blondie the Retriever confirms you exist,
with a squeal from the hillside as he paws
at your fiefdom of heather. The cub scout
camp fixing a tightrope between trees,

they’d testify they saw you and the twitchers
in their bunker claim the same, waiting
on a peregrine or skylark, but it was the badger
spotter who hit paydirt, a camouflaged colony

in the gorseland, writhing collage of ash
and pepper, schoolyard greys, cables of marl
and charcoal rain. Your emergence is always a spree,
a spate, a series of sightings: reed bed, railway bank

conservation acre, goosing the roe deer, in Pembroke,
Holkham, balled in a patch of bog myrtle,
but long shot for the corrugated reptile shelter.
Zagged Punchinello, scallywag, boo-hiss, main player

in a Cumbrian noir, Saxon totem, the crossbow poachers
would lower their heads to whisper they’d found you –
rascal species of our native quad – biding in the hideout
of the chalky downs, passive-minatory in the mineral mines.

A DELICACY OF ADDER by Samuel Prince

Photo used under CC.

About The Author


Samuel Prince lives in London. His poems have been published in various magazines, including Cordite Poetry Review, The Fenland Reed, Menacing Hedge and Poetry Salzburg Review as well as anthologies including Lives Beyond Us (Sidekick Books) and The Emma Press Anthology of Love (Emma Press). He won 1st prize in the 2018 Café Writers Competition.