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For Poetry Monday, an old favorite:


For a Five-Year-Old, Fleur Adcock

A snail is climbing up the window-sill
into your room, after a night of rain.
You call me in to see and I explain
that it would be unkind to leave it there:
it might crawl to the floor; we must take care
that no one squashes it. You understand,
and carry it outside, with careful hand,
to eat a daffodil.

I see, then, that a kind of faith prevails:
your gentleness is moulded still by words
from me, who have trapped mice and shot wild birds,
from me, who drowned your kittens, who betrayed
your closest relatives and who purveyed
the harshest kind of truth to many another,
But that is how things are: I am your mother,
And we are kind to snails.


For us, it's small beetles ("buggies!") in the house, but same message. "We are kind to snails" was a code phrase in our house for many years prior child.

---L.

Subject quote from "The Snow-Storm," Ralph Emerson.

Originally posted at http://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/626364.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

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Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
cat_i_th_adage
Feb. 7th, 2017 04:41 am (UTC)
That's... a poem with blood in it...

Thanks - I hadn't seen it before.
lnhammer
Feb. 7th, 2017 03:02 pm (UTC)
It is. I first met it in an anthology aimed at (older) children. This still startles me.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )