Shedding Skin (art, poem, & music)

A mere mention of you makes
some shiver, shudder, and shake.
is your common name, yet you’ve been
called many other things.
A hisssssss, real or imaginary, can cause
skin to crawl and feet to sprint
as you slide serpentine
over gravel low and through trees tall.
Slithering into nightmares and phobias –
a most notable role was aiding (wo)man’s fall.
In that scene you brokered innocence
in exchange for a taste of all
that was to remain forbidden
and forever hidden.

A landscape littered with your former skin,
though a reputation you cannot shed.
In the collective psyche you remain
feared and misunderstood. In the garden,
you were not evil – you were good.
An animal used for evil’s intent –
that’s one interpretation
of a tempting story, (mis)understood.

Beyond nightmares, legends, myths, and lore
snakes offer lessons of renewal and transformation.
We too should shed our skin,
experiencing temporary blindness when
our eyes become clouded with our past –
the celebrations and the misfortunes.
We too should listen for vibrations
that surround us, offering guidance –
if we choose to listen.

The featured art is the latest creation from my artist daughter, Sammi Lee. I knew when I saw her digital drawing, “Serpentine Rhythm,” on her IG page, ( a few days ago that I wanted to pair a poem with it. I am surprised by what showed up this morning, but I do think this poem complements one of the themes found in my last post, “Becoming Empty” ~ the theme of shedding old ways of being and doing. 🐍 Enjoy my music selection, “Reptile” by The Church, from my 80s archives. 🎶 Thank you for visiting and reading. Be well. 💗 Michele

Artist/Poet Note: For those who are new here, you can learn more about the year-long long-distance creative collaboration between me, the poet, and my daughter, the artist, by visiting my Being a Woman page. Welcome to my creative space!

You can find more of Sammi Lee’s creative art on her site, Mintaka Collection, which features original prints and art-inspired clothing. (

You can find my photos, micro-poetry, and reels on my IG page ~ @mlsefton

© 2021 Michele Lee Sefton

56 thoughts on “Shedding Skin (art, poem, & music)

  1. WOW Michele, now this is a plethora of amazing insights on how we see and judge snakes. I love the way you interpreted the non-venomous approach about how we have viewed and feared snakes. You stated that stereotype magnificently in this line: “In the collective psyche you remain
    feared and misunderstood.” 🙌🏼👍🏼👏🏼 What an awesome lesson and insight on how much we villainize these reptiles through learned behavior. 🐍

    I love the artwork Sammi Lee did, although I am not a sssnnnnnaaaaaakkkkkeeee admirer. Ophidiophobia has been a phobia since childhood. I’ve come too close for comfort a few times with some lethal ones while playing outside and mistaking it for a branch. Yikes!!!! 😮😲😯 Another great read girlfriend. 😎 I love your freshness and approach! Now, I can go dance!!! 💃🏽💐👠👗🩰 Woooo-hooooooo! 🤸🏽‍♀️🤸🏽‍♀️🤸🏽‍♀️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The number of poisonous snakes is a relatively small amount, but don’t misunderstand me… I don’t plan on holding a rattlesnake. I listen, watch, and keep a respectful distance when I see and/or hear them. That aside, snakes are amazing creatures.

      Thank you on behalf of Sammi. She is a talented one. Talented and hardworking. I hope my post did not trigger your ophidiophobia. I think having an older brother who liked teasing me with creepy crawling things cured me of any future creepy crawling phobias. Maybe I will thank him someday. 😆 Thank you, Kym, for reading and for your always supportive and fun comments. 😊 I will join you in that dance. Soon! 😁 👯‍♀️ 💖

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You know, I suppose I didn’t have the desire to find out about our belly crawlers 🐍. My encounters were with rattlers and honey, I can’t even stand the sound of cicadas and miracas (if I don’t see them). UGH! I was damaged as a child! 😝🤣😜 You’re braver than I am! 💪🏼

        Your brother sort of sounds like one of my younger brothers, only thing he too was afraid of snakes! 😉 I appreciate you girlfriend. Continue to stay encouraged and continue to encourage that talented daughter of yours. 🎨 The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree you know? 🍎🌳 🤗

        Liked by 1 person

      2. haha I love the sound of cicadas. 😁 We are all damaged in one way or another. Speaking of damaged, my brother tormented me. 😆 He was afraid of things brushing against him in the water when we waterskied. I did not mind that at all – I enjoyed being in the water. 💙 I appreciate you too. Thank you so much for being so engaging and kind. 🍎💖🤗

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thank you for sharing that special memory Michele. 🤗 Did you torment your brother back??? LOL 🚤 I truly appreciate your genuine kindness and thoughtfulness. I am humbled that you take the time to read what I write. Most of the time I am writing for therapy! 😜 Yet in the same sense, I am grateful when there is a takeaway that will help someone in someway. I truly appreciate you girl!!! Thanks so much for your encouragement. It does my heart good!!!! 💖💃🏼💝

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Oh it was special. 😂 He was too far across the water for me to torture (tandem water skiing). I suppose a long stick would have been quite fun, but that could have been a bit dangerous when the boat jet lifted us up and out of the water. I was amused though. 😁 haha I felt the same way when I would spend hours writing feedback to my students. Doubt they read half of it – although I did devise a way to promote the reading of my blood, sweat, and tears. 😆 We are here for each other. Dancing, therapy, reading, laughing, encouraging. Thank you fun friend. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Ingrid. Yes, they do have positive symbolic associations, including the Greek symbol of healing. Right you are about the venom – a valuable resource, that I like to stay clear of in the wild. 🐍 Hollywood has done a masterful job of villainizing them. The slithering scenes are very effective.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Timothy Price

    Sammi’s “Serpentine Rhythm” is fantastic. You poem is equally fantastic and complements Sammi’s artwork perfectly. You may or may not know that I am a lifelong keeper of snakes, and you got it right on the renewal, shedding skin and being sensitive to our surroundings and other people.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much, Timothy. I/we really appreciate your support and insightful words. I did not know that about you. Cool! No pet snakes for me – just an appreciator of wildlife in all of its forms. They are fascinating creatures, like bats – another animal that is over-feared and underappreciated. All deserve our respect, even if from a distance.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Timothy Price

        You have to really like snakes to keep them as pets. I still have a boa constrictor. She is about 9 feet long. We raised her from a newborn. She’s of age now at 21.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the artwork! From the colors to the form of the snake, its sure weight curled cleverly through and around the hand, it is a lovely marriage of colors and texture that shine also in your words.

    The idea of shedding one’s skin and putting as much trust into the process and resulting temporary blindness sounds like an amazing way to grow in confidence and in knowledge of self. In listening and feeling more than simply seeing, there is so much to learn.
    Thanks so much for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do too! Love at first sight with her recent creation. Of course, I love all her work, since she was two.😁 And that is one of the reasons you are a talented writer, Jaya – your attention to the details and your ability and desire to describe them so beautifully and uniquely. ✨ Thank you for noticing the details in her art. Love your description of “shedding skin,” especially the use of and continued thoughts of the the word, trust. Exciting stuff! Many thanks to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. wowww I am looking for where to begin with saying how brilliant I find this poem, the art and the collaboration. Truly stunning art. Your poem gives me a very profound and peaceful look at the snake – I do have fear for them in real life, I have always had friendly snakes in my dreams and I fully relate to the metaphor of shedding – my skin, my old being, the transformation, the renewal. Never did I imagine getting to read a poem this beautiful on the topic of snakes!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Where you chose to begin was perfect and perfectly gratifying for me. I wasn’t sure where to begin when I first saw Sammi’s art – I only knew I was moved to write a poem for her powerful piece. Such a wonderful gift when we are moved to write.✨ I know you know, and I also know you connect with transformation and renewal based on your writing. 😀 Friendly snakes in your dreams sounds like a good sign. Thank you for the genuine enthusiasm you have shared – it is greatly appreciated! I know Sammi would concur. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Cindy. Creating art through words delivers so many gifts, as you know. Pairing them with my daughter’s work is deeply rewarding. 💝 I am happy to read you enjoyed my 80s music selection. 😄💃🏼 Thanks! 💗

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I adore the analogy of shedding snake skin, with the shedding of our own stories, hang ups. etc. I also love how you end with vibration and listening, should we choose to do so. What a beautiful poem. And the artwork is amazing. Have a lovely evening, Michele. 🐍🥰❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much, Jeff. Shedding skin sounds a little gross, but I like the analogy too. It is a fascinating process. I had more to write about snake traits, but choosing to listen felt like a good place to stop, or at least pause. 😄 Thanks for appreciating our collaborative snake post. 💖 Enjoy the rest of your week and happy writing. ✍🏻 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Your daughter does great art work! You have an interesting poem here, I like the emphases on shedding our past so we can continually be renewed! I liked this line…
    A landscape littered with your former skin,
    though a reputation you cannot shed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She is most definitely on purpose as a visual artist. ✨ Thank you so much on her behalf. 🙏🏻 Dwight, you have a knack for selecting my favorite lines. I like those lines too, for the imagery, symbolism, and the rhythm. A certain flow that makes them easy to remember. Thank you for taking the time to mention what stood out to you. 😄

      Liked by 1 person

  7. bodypositivefemme

    How awesome it is that you have such artistic connections to your child. Love the art work.

    A snake has taught me some lessons, something I never thought I would say.

    For me your idea of shedding to be reborn sits well with my soul and indeed despite the bad reputation, snakes are part of nature and are representative of some of nature’s best lessons.
    I really enjoyed this.

    Love, Ann❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is an awesome and most cherished connection. Thank you, Ann, from Sammi too. I was instantly captivated by her latest creation. It is very symbolic for her. I am so pleased you connected to my/our post from a soul level. ✨ What an honor. 🙏🏼💝

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Michele, what a beautiful poem you are showing here! And the loving artwork is incredibly beautiful, sensitive and touches the heart ..

    Here in Germany there aren’t that many snakes. If you explore the country on foot on warm days, you will occasionally come across a snake – even if such encounters are rare today. We have only two species of snake that are poisonous: the adder and the aspic viper. I have great respect for snakes.
    Michele, I wish you all the best! 🤗💐🙋‍♂️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much, artist Rosie. I really appreciate you and I know my daughter would appreciate your thoughts too. Like you, she is incredibly talented. ✨ Stay safe out there! All the best to you and thank you for the visit. 🤗 🌞 💗

      Liked by 1 person

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