THE THIRTEENTH SIGN


(After Manilinus’ Astronomica)
November 29 – December 17

Ophiuchus wrests athwart the great
serpent’s mighty coils and twisting body
encircling his own, that he might untie
its knots and back that winds in loops.
But, bending its supple neck, the serpent looks
back and returns: and the wrestler’s hands
slip over the loosened coils.
                                       The struggle is eternal,
since they wage it evenly matched.
The handler of the great dragon, when he comes
ascending the zone of Capricorn’s sign,
renders all snakes innocuous to those
born under him.
                               They will welcome serpents
into the folds of their robes and receive kisses

from these venomous monsters with impunity.

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