The Snail

Today, under the dead leaves I foundThe yellow spiralled shell of a snail,Light and empty and very frail,That someone abandoned on the ground. A jelly-bodied snailHas wandered summer-long around the garden,And all he had as wardenWas this humble shell,So thin and so much like a bellA cat would have destroyed it if it fell! And sliding without haste and gently,He might have thought suddenly While carrying his shell, it occurred: "How very sad to be a bird!" Children whispered to him softly:"Snail, hail fella hail"He slipped out his hornlets in the sun,Looked at them, trusting every one,His slow eyes no more than tiny dots. Lazily dragging his hump On bur leaves, through weedsLeaving a glittering and sticky trail of beadsHe glided gently to his clump:The warm and tender clover field,His ever faithful winter shield. Fearful with every step he tookCurling his soft and viscous body In its translucent shelly nook,On a branch, along his routeHe seemed to be a wild juicy fruit… In his old house – a striped enamel oneForgotten beneath the nettles since he's gone;Have found a little but palatial homeA beetle and some ants alone... from Poems, Tineretului, 1964

by Otilia Cazimir (1894-1967)