The Snake Charmer

I been killin’ snakes all my life
copperheads and water moccasins, mostly
and every so often, when I’m ridin’ in the brush
a rattler’ll slide on out and spook my mule
Don’t matter what kind, a’course
I shoot ’em all with my sawed off shotgun
or use whatever else might be handy
shovel works just fine
I kill them snakes without a thought
Man’s got to protect his family

They’s always killin’ to be done on a farm
killin’ you got to do
killin’ you don’t ever want to do

I been killin’ dogs all my life
Folks on this here mountain call on me
when their old hounds go blind or get the rabies
they can’t bear to do the killin’, so they ask me
some folks call me the executioner
but I don’t mind
it’s a job needs doin’

Hardest thing for me is when my boy has a dog
what won’t quit chasin’ cows
can’t keep a dog like that
can’t risk the livestock

I saw a dog one time run a pregnant cow through a pasture
with a calf a’comin’ out of her
Calf died

I been killin’ dogs like that all my life

Sometimes the killin’s a matter of survival
or sport

I been killin’ deer all my life

Best time for that’s in winter
if you hit a buck, but you don’t drop him
you can follow his trail of blood through the snow
ain’t nothin’ like followin’ a blood trail to a kill
Last buck I got this season came in after dark
I strung him up in the old blackjack tree beside the pond
gutted him by the headlights of my pickup truck

I tell my boys
never kill a deer lessen yer gonna eat it
God didn’t mean for us to waste

Last week I was out workin’ on my new barn
I felt a strange wigglin’ under my boot
I looked down and sure nuff, it was a big fat writhin’ copperhead
I flew backwards bout as far as a man without wings can fly
grabbed me a rock
and scored a direct hit on the bastard’s head

I been killin’ snakes all my life
and this was the first time I done felt sorry
Seems like ever since I got saved, I been seein’ things different
That old snake wasn’t hurtin’ nobody

I stopped my work
and said a prayer for God’s creature smashed to pieces at my feet

later on, my wife asked
did this mean I wasn’t gonna kill no more snakes
Hell no! I said
If I see one in the yard tomorrow, I’ll shoot it sure as rain

I been killin’ snakes all my life

can’t even God stop me now



© Lisa Martinovic