July 1, 2011

Poetry Friday--Snails

I've seen slugs, but up until 2000 I had never seen a living land snail! When I finally saw one, I was intrigued by the delicateness of its shell as compared to the slimy nakedness of the slug.

Here is a pretty snail poem by Thom Gunn:
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.
The most recent issue of Haiga Online, "Iris Fields," issue 12-1 June 2011, is now available and it includes the results of regular feature of the journal, "Haiku this Haiga!" For this issue contributors were presented a snail painting by Mary B. Rodning and were asked to come up with a haiku to pair with the picture. From all the entries one by Michael Dylan Welch was chosen as the winner. His haiku was translated into Japanese and calligraphed; bamboo flute music was added. A slideshow of all the haiku entries, including mine, is included also. You can view the slideshow by going to this page, then clicking on "Traditional Haiga." Enjoy!

Although I've titled this post, "Snails," I would be remiss if I neglected to mention the rhyming picture book by David Greenberg, illustrated by Victoria Chase, Slugs. My kids used to love the book when they were in elementary school! I think it may still be available in paperback. A word of warning, it is not for the faint of heart! The humor is very black.

Stop by A Wrung Sponge for the first Round-Up of the new 6-month Poetry Friday schedule.


  1. "the slow passion to that deliberate progress" - sounds like writing! Thanks for sharing, Diane. Enjoyed your haiku and the slideshow for the "Haiku this Haiga" link. For fun along this snail/slug theme, I must also recommend Susan Pearson's picture book, SLUGS IN LOVE.

  2. Yes, it does, Robyn! Ah, yes, Slugs in Love--we have it at the library--cute book.

  3. Love your haiga at the link! What a beautiful collection. You've done a great job pursuing that passion.

    I have never liked snails or slugs, but that poem turns me around.

  4. Loved the collection of haiga...something for me to try my hand at!

  5. Congratulations on the selection of your lovely haiga for the slide show! I'm feeling rather snail-like today. Better than slug-like!

  6. I, too, didn't see land snails until fairly recently. They amazed me, too!

    Great poem -- I love what Robyn said about snail trails and writing!

    Another slug book: How To Teach a Slug to Read.