So you want to know what animal I admire?
This of my ponderous thoughts you require
And, my friend, I’ll acquiesce to your request,
I’ve got you covered! My answer, no jest,
Thus plainly is: the creature meriting such love
Must be as wise as a snake and harmless as a dove.
Aha, you say! That’s two creatures, not one!
But appearances deceive, especially those human,
And under one skin can reside two creatures:
Two snakes, two doves, doubles in their features
Twice wise and as deadly or twice haplessly unwary
Equally alarming as their fortunes they miscarry.
Think now of a creature, a lamb or a dove, so harmless, so mild
But wise, like a snake, and knowing, a man, woman, or child;
One creature who is heeding the law of love from its Author
And the same creature undeceived by the world’s favor or disfavor.
Such a God-fearing creature – oh, could it be you? Could it be me? –
Is the freest of the free, at peace, my friend, with God eternally.
“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matt. 10: 16, ESV)