A shrill buzzing splits the summer air.
Look close and you can see him there,
Blending with the earth and the withered grass.
Back away ! Don't disturb ! Let him pass!

His flicking tongue and piercing eye
Tell him a friend stands close by.
He sheaths the long and awesome teeth
And glides away in the forest heath.

It is the Rattlesnake sacred to the Cherokee.
"He has a bell" the old ones say, "Be warned. He is utsonati.
Never has he been our foe, his poison not for men.
His buzzing only meant to be a warning to his kin."

He was once a Warrior who the Little Men
Changed to a snake for a mission when
The Sun was angry and caused a drought.
The People were dying and he went out

To try and stop the vengeful Sun
From killing the People with her burning run.
He failed, even though he tried his best,
And became an example for all the rest

Of those who fight for the common good
Living their lives as a Warrior should
Protecting the People, their homes and their land,
Forging the Circle into a strong band.

Give him respect and remember him when
You're asked to serve the causes of men.
Will you be able to be as free
With your life as the noble utsonati?

by Dragonfly
2004 used with permission


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