When Serpents Bargain

When Serpents Bargain
When serpents bargain for the right to squirm
and the sun strikes to gain a living wage –
When thorns regard their roses with alarm
and rainbows are insured against old age

When every thrush may sing no new moon in
if all screech-owls have not okayed his voice
– and any wave signs on the dotted line
or else an ocean is compelled to close

When the oak begs permission of the birch
to make an acorn – valleys accuse their
Mountains of having altitude – and March
denounces April as a saboteur

Then we’ll believe in that incredible
unanimal mankind (and not until)

EE Cummings



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