From the cult of the headlong and hasty,
From the worship of spasms and speed,
We turn to a topic more tasty
To serve a contemplative need;
From rockets where ruin the aim is,
And all that the atom entails,
We look for relief – and our aim is
The watching of snails.
For the snail is an excellent creature,
It hates to be hustled along;
Repose is its dominant feature,
Rapidity seems to it wrong.
The house problem leaves it unworried,
It bears on its back its abode;
Unharrassed, unhampered, unhurried,
It goes its own road.
So here’s to the snail and its watchers
All pledged to the leisurely life,
Forsaking the bustle of botchers
Who rush into trouble and strife !
When stresses and strains seem to harden,
Would you weather the gusts and the gale ?
Get you out to the green of the garden
And study the snail !
By ‘Lucio’ (Mr. Phillips), “In recognition of the first anniversary of the British Snail-watching Society,” Manchester Guardian, 7 September 1946.
(From A. E. Ellis)