THE SNAIL

THE SNAIL – William Cowper (1731-1800)

To grass, or leaf, or fruit, or wall,
The snail sticks close, nor fears to fall,
As if he grew there, house and all
                                                Together.

Within that house secure he hides,
When danger imminent betides
Of storm, or other harm besides
                                                Of weather.

Give but his horns the slightest touch,
His self-collecting power is such,
He shrinks into his house, with much
                                                Displeasure.

Where’er he dwells, he dwells alone,
Except himself has chattels none,
Well satisfied to be his own
                                                Whole treasure.

Thus, hermit-like, his life he leads,
Nor partner of his banquet needs,
And if he meets one, only feeds
                                                The faster.

Who seeks him must be worse than blind,
(He and his house are so combin’d)
If, finding it, he fails to find
                                                Its master.

This poem came to mind after seeing so many snails moving about the garden and in the streets after our recent rain – a change from coming across empty shells!

28 thoughts on “THE SNAIL

  1. I liked the poem. We had a rather dry summer this year. I didn’t see many snails until fall when we finally got some rain. They are interesting creatures with their home on their back.

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  2. Snails have garnered a poor reputation on that score as well as being low down on the food web. Apart from being the food of a number of birds, snails can be useful in terms of eating rotting vegetation as well as fungi.

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