Hunting Snake Poem Summary

hunting snake poem summary

Table of Contents

“Hunting Snake” is a poem written by Judith Wright, an Australian poet, environmentalist, and campaigner for Aboriginal land rights. The poem reflects Wright’s deep connection to the natural world and her exploration of the coexistence of humans and wildlife.


The poem “Hunting Snake” vividly describes an encounter with a snake in the wild. The speaker and a group of people, possibly a family or a small community, come across a large snake while out in the countryside. The snake is portrayed as a magnificent and powerful creature, moving gracefully through the grass.

The poem captures the mixture of fear and fascination that the snake elicits in the onlookers. There is a sense of awe at the snake’s beauty and the primal instincts it represents. However, there is also a palpable sense of danger, as the snake is a potentially lethal creature.

The speaker emphasizes the snake’s natural habitat and the fact that it is not encroaching on human territory. This suggests a respect for the snake’s right to exist in its own environment. The snake is described as “guest” and “stranger,” highlighting the idea that it is not an intruder but a fellow inhabitant of the natural world.

As the snake moves away, the mood shifts. There is a sense of loss and regret, as if the encounter was fleeting and left the observers yearning for more. The poem ends with a reflection on the profound impact that this encounter with the snake has had on the speaker. The experience has left a lasting impression, a memory that will endure.


  1. Nature and Wildlife: The poem celebrates the natural world and its inhabitants, particularly the snake. It highlights the importance of respecting and appreciating the creatures that share our environment.
  2. Human-Nature Interaction: The poem explores the complex relationship between humans and wildlife. It acknowledges the fear and fascination that wild creatures can evoke in people.
  3. Transience and Impermanence: The fleeting nature of the encounter is a significant theme. The snake’s departure leaves the observers with a sense of longing, emphasizing the impermanence of such moments of connection with the natural world.
  4. Respect for Wildlife: The poem encourages a sense of respect and awe for wildlife. It emphasizes the idea that animals have their own place in the world and should be allowed to exist without unnecessary interference.
  5. Memory and Impact: The poem suggests that certain encounters with nature can have a profound and lasting impact on individuals. The memory of the snake lingers, serving as a reminder of the beauty and power of the natural world.

Overall, “Hunting Snake” is a beautifully crafted poem that invites readers to contemplate their relationship with nature and appreciate the wonder of the creatures that inhabit our world. Through vivid imagery and poignant reflections, Judith Wright leaves us with a powerful message about the importance of coexisting harmoniously with the natural world.

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