English poetry

Poems in English

Giant Snail

Giant Snail

The rain has stopped. The waterfall will roar like that all
Night. I have come out to take a walk and feed. My body foot,
That is is wet and cold and covered with sharp gravel. It is
White, the size of a dinner plate. I have set myself a goal, a
Certain rock, but it may well be dawn before I get there.
Although I move ghostlike and my floating edges barely graze
The ground, I am heavy, heavy, heavy. My white muscles are
Already tired. I give the impression of mysterious ease, but it is
Only with the greatest effort of my will that I can rise above the
Smallest stones and sticks. And I must not let myself be dis-
Tracted by those rough spears of grass. Don’t touch them. Draw
Back. Withdrawal is always best.
The rain has stopped. The waterfall makes such a noise! (And
What if I fall over it?) The mountains of black rock give off such
Clouds of steam! Shiny streamers are hanging down their sides.
When this occurs, we have a saying that the Snail Gods have
Come down in haste. I could never descend such steep escarp-
Ments, much less dream of climbing them.
That toad was too big, too, like me. His eyes beseeched my
Love. Our proportions horrify our neighbors.
Rest a minute; relax. Flattened to the ground, my body is like
A pallid, decomposing leaf. What’s that tapping on my shell?
Nothing. Let’s go on.
My sides move in rhythmic waves, just off the ground, from
Front to back, the wake of a ship, wax-white water, or a slowly
Melting floe. I am cold, cold, cold as ice. My blind, white bull’s
Head was a Cretan scare-head; degenerate, my four horns that
Can’t attack. The sides of my mouth are now my hands. They
Press the earth and suck it hard. Ah, but I know my shell is
Beautiful, and high, and glazed, and shining. I know it well,
Although I have not seen it. Its curled white lip is of the finest
Enamel. Inside, it is as smooth as silk, and I, I fill it to perfection.
My wide wake shines, now it is growing dark. I leave a lovely
Opalescent ribbon: I know this.
But O! I am too big. I feel it. Pity me.
If and when I reach the rock, I shall go into a certain crack
There for the night. The waterfall below will vibrate through
My shell and body all night long. In that steady pulsing I can
Rest. All night I shall be like a sleeping ear.



Poem Giant Snail - Elizabeth Bishop