Thom Gunn

(29 August 1929 – 25 April 2004 / England)

Considering the Snail


The snail pushes through a green
night, for the grass is heavy
with water and meets over
the bright path he makes, where rain
has darkened the earth's dark. He
moves in a wood of desire,

pale antlers barely stirring
as he hunts. I cannot tell
what power is at work, drenched there
with purpose, knowing nothing.
What is a snail's fury? All
I think is that if later

I parted the blades above
the tunnel and saw the thin
trail of broken white across
litter, I would never have
imagined the slow passion
to that deliberate progress.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Rookie Simon Zonenblick (4/21/2006 9:28:00 AM)

    Combines Heaney-esque accuracy and attention to physical detail, with a potent symbolism (a wood of desire, antlers, etc) highly illustrative of the poet's respect for the earth. A simple but wonderful poem that always cheers me up. (Report) Reply

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