Poem: The Stoic Snail

I spied a snail, a whorl on its back,

Moving through the grass.

I moved closer to see what business it had

And noticed the crack: jagged, pale.

Something had smashed its shell.

Ah, poor snail.

Your wondrous Fibonnaci spiral –


By an unaware or uncaring shoe, or

Perhaps by an unfeeling lawnmower’s blade?

I saw the snail again, some time later,

Concerned with something in the wet grass,

Gracefully gliding along.

Still alive!

And that shell, so broken –

Bifurcated –

Had repaired itself,

A ragged white scar remaining.

And the snail continued on its way,

Going on with the business of living.

Why this subject matter? I find snails fascinating, and while looking through my (numerous) photos of them, realized that many of the creatures had suffered damage to their shells – those beautiful expressions of the Fibonnaci sequence!

The particular snail that inspired this piece was one that I had seen on several occasions, first with an intact shell, then, later, with a crushed shell. I thought for certain that the snail was a goner, that a bird or other animal would seize the opportunity to pry the mollusk out of the remnants of its house. When I didn’t see it again for several weeks, I assumed it had died…so I was very pleasantly surprised to see it appear in the same area again, with a large white spot on its shell from the repair (calcium deposits). Snails are tough little gastropods…doubtless, they have to be to survive in this world.

  • Good news: some veterinarians even repair broken snail shells, like in this story from The Dodo.

Snails remind me to slow down, take a breath, and marvel at Nature’s stunning display. It is – rightfully – humbling.

2 thoughts on “Poem: The Stoic Snail

  1. Wow! Your pictures are beautiful! I was wondering if the first image was from the internet LOL For me when I read your words they are a metaphor for how sometimes life can cause trauma, but we can heal, and the ‘scars’ are proof!

    1. Thank you!! I really appreciate you sharing what the poem meant to you – it’s lovely and inspirational! I never fail to be amazed at the resilience of Nature and animals, and watching and capturing moments in the lives of these small (some were so tiny that they were easily missed by passersby) creatures was a true pleasure. I kept thinking as others would look at me quizzically while I snapped away, “look down, people, there’s a whole world at your feet!” But I also knew that some people simply wouldn’t care, even if they knew the snails were there. Glad you like the snails – more to come!

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