Snail Thoughts


I am often caught

by the sight,

then the thought,

of the snail.


What contemplative patience

it must hold

in its cells


to move so slowly,

so steadily,

across each surface

it happens upon.


Look, see how it

inches its way

in that infinitesimal glide,

denying the swift and the sudden.


It goes with the pace of a sage

or a buddha

in an eternity

of present moments,

no past and no future,

only a now of movement

or stasis.


Yet view, as time passes, how

behind it there shines

the elaborate knot

of a trail,


a lustrous calligraphy

recording its journey,


the log of its passage

of dogged, of patient