The Serpopards
From Egypt to Afghanistan they rear
their ludicrous long necks, mostly in twos,
on seals and palettes.  Though they’re face-to-face,
and coil their necks in such a way as might
suggest affection, one should hesitate
to think of them as pairs; for this is not
the stuff of valentines where elephants
make heart-shapes with their trunks, or cuddle up.
Despite its grace, this looping of the necks
is one long hiss; the jaws are semi-snarled;
and sometimes one can clearly see the reins
needed to make the circle stay in place.
But no collision course.  Like us, they stand
apart and interlocked.  They frame a space.

Annette Volfing

The illustration is from
a 3000 BC cylinder seal of Uruk, displaying a lioness motif sometimes described as a "serpopard"

If you have any comments on this poem, Annette Volfing  would be pleased to hear from you.