With slothful gait the languid snail
Unhindered spreads his silver trail.
The gardener would call him "pest,"
"Destructive mollusc," and at best
Banish him: not so she;
Like bird by snake hypnotically
Spellbound by his expertise,
Amazed by those retractile eyes,
The child, soft chin upon her knees,
Marvels at the casual ease
Of his unhurried pace.
Antennae-warned of each impasse
He rides abreast a blade of grass,
Manipulates the cumbrous shell
And shiplike rides the grassy swell;
Dips and glides, rolls and heaves,
With undulating grace he cleaves
His precarious passageway,
Advancing with each tip and sway,
At her touch to disappear
Coyly soon to reappear
Inches from her face.
The gardener would only see
His plants' potential enemy;
Childish eyes alone can see
A snail in all his majesty.
J.Y. Chapman (Mrs. J. Y. Buckett)