* considering Thom Gunn

Writing poetry has in fact become a certain stage in my coping with the world, or in the way I try to understand what happens to me and inside me. Perhaps I could say that my poetry is an attempt to grasp, with grasp meaning both to take hold of in a first bid at possession, and also to understand (Thom Gunn)

To continue in the syllabic vein begun with last week’s poem, I present below Thom Gunn’s “Considering the Snail.”

There is much to admire in the poem. The pace, for one, feels apt for the subject matter.

Then there are the seemingly happenstance (but more likely deliberate) end words emphasized by the form. One choice moment for me is the way the line:

What is a snail’s fury? All

breaks right at seven syllables and seems to both answer the question by breaking on “All” as well as progress the line.

“Progress” as the last word of the poem, seems to be at the heart of the poem, both in concept and in form.

* for your consideration *
* for your consideration *

Considering the Snail – Thom Gunn

The snail pushes through a green
night, for the grass is heavy
with water and meets over
the bright path he makes, where rain
has darkened the earth’s dark. He
moves in a wood of desire,

pale antlers barely stirring
as he hunts. I cannot tell
what power is at work, drenched there
with purpose, knowing nothing.
What is a snail’s fury? All
I think is that if later

I parted the blades above
the tunnel and saw the thin
trail of broken white across
litter, I would never have
imagined the slow passion
to that deliberate progress.


Happy progressing!


p.s. I have two haiku in the latest issue of A Hundred Gourds. Check them out here and here.

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