Narrow Fellow

“Narrow Fellow”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

Ever since we have moved here many years ago, from time to time, I have seen black snakes in the lawn or garden. Sometimes they are fairly large, but mostly they are small, young snakes. The first few times I saw these, I freaked, but now, while I am usually startled, I don’t run the opposite way. This year, however, there is a small, black snake that has taken a liking to my garden. I have seen him several times, in many different areas of the garden. It usually doesn’t stay around but slithers off to more secluded areas. Yesterday, when I saw it sunning itself on an amaryllis leaf, probably trying to dry off, I called dear hubby to see it, and he took a quick photo.



Whenever I see a snake in the garden, I am always reminded of one of my favorite Emily Dickinson poems.

A Narrow Fellow in the Grass

A narrow fellow in the grass
Occasionally rides;
You may have met him,–did you not,
His notice sudden is.

The grass divides as with a comb,
A spotted shaft is seen;
And then it closes at your feet
And opens further on.

He likes a boggy acre,
A floor too cool for corn.
Yet when a child, and barefoot,
I more than once, at morn,

Have passed, I thought, a whip-lash
Unbraiding in the sun,–
When, stooping to secure it,
It wrinkled, and was gone.

Several of nature’s people
I know, and they know me;
I feel for them a transport
Of cordiality;

But never met this fellow,
Attended or alone,
Without a tighter breathing,
And zero at the bone.

I know that tighter breathing.



  1. July 9, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    LOL, I know that tighter feeling, too. I bought a toy snake at a garage sale today, and put it at the entrance to my garden in hopes of deterring some rabbits. Later in the evening, when I went to put some things on the compost pile, I got quite a start before I remembered putting it there.

    I see garter snakes from time to time, and have gotten used to them, but still, I have been startled when seeing them while turning the compost pile. They always do their best to get away from me.

    Tell your husband I like his photo.

  2. July 9, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    I usually love finding snakes in the garden…providing they’re not rattlesnakes. Rattlesnakes here definitely cause some tighter breathing! Your black snake is a very handsome narrow fellow.

  3. Meredith said,

    July 11, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    Thanks for introducing me to this Dickinson poem. I’d never read it before, and I like it a lot. 🙂

    I know exactly that feeling, too… and I do get it with all snakes, although much much more intensely when I meet a copperhead in the pinestraw!

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