The Snail Trilogy

I. Apology to a Snail


Oh, Snail! For life’s novel joys you were so ready

when down on your shell pressed my sole so heavy.

You lay in the sweet shade of Autumn’s leaf

before I became your short life’s thief.


Short it was, but not at all meaningless;

earth and plants were your home and quarry.

I mean it with all my heart in saying this:

for my callous carelessness I am sorry.


In our haste, our hubris and our mirth,

we humans look to the skies but not to Earth.


II. The Snail’s Reply


Dear Sir,


Writing there at thy desk,

at thy haunting conscience’s behest,

you rightly propose I was not ready to die.

I was not yet prepared. Please, Sir, do try

to reflect upon the life which you took from me.

Although, a blackbird would also have been free

to take my small world away, my shell to crush,

and would have swallowed me up in its hungry rush.


Feel not guilty; it was a simple mistake,

although to me it was agony, a deadly twist of cruel fate.

Life was short but full. For my time I cannot complain.

Yet, a warning: watch thy step and prevent more pain.


III. The Blackbird’s Complaint


You soiled my food, you big, bad brute!

You ground it right beneath your foot!

Today, I have hunted to no avail

and I looked forward to that snail.


O’, I could lament! O’, I could whine!

Alas, alas! Such a lot is mine!

I require no melodrama, though;

your foolishness left me hungry. I must go.