Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Considering the Snail by Thom Gunn 1929 - 2004

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. 

I took this image of a snail one night following a rainy day. The snail was slowly making its way up our window. I photographed it from inside the house and the snail and the night sky were lit up by the flash light on my camera. Next morning I was delighted to discover that the snail had disappeared and gone on its way.

50 comments:

  1. Wow Rosemary,
    -What a brilliant micro photo of this snail..He really is glowing
    Your poem is so fitting for these sometimes misfortunate strange creatures.
    I haven't had too many around here this season yet.
    wishing you a happy day
    val

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    1. Dear Val - he really is glowing isn't he? I was surprised how well it came out. Not keen on snails or slugs for that matter, but they are amazing little creatures.

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  2. That's an amazing photo Rosemary.

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    1. Just one of those lucky shots Paula.

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  3. He looks positively jewel like...golden and magnificent. This really is a stunning photo Rosemary. Beautiful. Jx

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    1. I was surprised at how he/she worked out - I seem to recall snails are hermaphrodite, but so glad it was on the other side of the glass.

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  4. I've never thought of a snail as beautiful, but your photo catches such a luminous glow I think it is has an unexpected beauty.

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    1. They are not my most favourite creature Betty, but you are right it does have a luminous glow of beauty about it.

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  5. What a fantastic photograph Rosemary! You should publish it in other places. How about entering it in Weekly Top Shot for a start. I'm surprised how clean the underside is of your snail... you must have a very tidy garden.

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    1. Dear Gina - that is a most generous comment - thank you. I just saw caught a glimpse of the snail in the dark moving up the window, grabbed my camera, and that was all there was to it.
      Our garden is not that tidy - I think that snails do not get dirty underneath because they move along on that awful trail of slime which they leave behind them - horrible.

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  6. That is the most amazing photo ... for the first time ever I think I can say I have seen a beautiful snail. M x

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    1. Yes, perhaps I need to reassess my opinion of the snail - I wonder if I could find a beautiful slug too!!!

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  7. Dear Rosemary - I must join the concensus and say that this is an amazing and beautiful photograph. I wonder what the snail experienced when you took the flash photograph? Do you suppose snails have epiphanies?

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    1. Dear Mark- the photo was a complete fluke, no prior thought given to it. I just saw the snail the flash went off and that was it. It didn't move, shrink into it's shell, or even wiggle its antennae, so I don't think an epiphany took place, but you never know.

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  8. What a wonderful photograph!!

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    1. Thank you Freda that is very kind.

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  9. Dear Rosemary,

    I love the snail photo and thanks for sharing the poem.
    -very sweet of you thinking of me in Norwich. Believe me I knew it was going to be great, I always have great time in Britain. there is something in your country that attracts me. It must be all that Englishness ;)

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    1. Dear Demie - the snail photo seems to have gone down well, but it was just a chance encounter. Delighted that you had a lovely weekend.

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  10. Hello Rosemary, This professional photo really deserves a wider audience. Each element is perfect and enhances the others. I would have guessed that this was heavily processed and Photo-shopped.

    Taiwan has many large snails, and the rainy weather we have been having brings them out. I just sent for a walk, and was amazed at the individual beauty of their shells and bodies. Unfortunately, I didn't bring my camera.
    --Road to Parnassus

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    1. Dear Jim- you need to have your camera with you all of the time. Whenever I forget mine I see something that makes me wish I had it with me.
      Not a snail fan myself, and I could not eat them.

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  11. That's a fantastic photo although snails are not very popular with me after the amount of my plants they eat!
    Sarah x

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    1. Yes, they seem to lurk under the bushes whenever anything fresh and green is planted. Apparently it is no good throwing them over the hedge or the wall as they just come back. They must have a homing instinct.

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  12. That's a beautiful photo Rosemary. The snail looks so surreal. I am glad that the snail made it and had gone on its own way. I am one of those guilty ones that unintentionally stepped on a snail's shell while walking and then hear a cracking sound. I felt so bad....

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    1. I do not particularly like snails but I would not intentionally kill them. However, if you happen to step on one it does make you feel bad about it, I agree.

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  13. The snail gone its way as you say , but you evolve to a great photographer !
    You choose the colours that looks so "extraterrestrial" or an 'alien " !!!!
    This photo looks the snail that it came from the space !!!
    Olympia

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    1. Dear Olympia - it does look rather as if it came from outer space, and that is because the night sky was behind it. There were small drops of rain on the window that sparkled when the flash went off which made it look as if there were stars in the sky. It was just a lucky shot, but thank you.

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  14. A magnificent picture Rosemary! Don't like snails but this one is really glowing, shining, a beauty.
    Bye,
    Marian

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    1. Not fond of them myself Marian that is why I was pleased that it had moved off by the morning time. The snail does look rather glowing and shinny from the flash light.

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  15. This is a real piece of art! Amazing!

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  16. Love the light on the snail.

    Greetings,
    Filip

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    1. I think that there must be a bit of luminosity in a snail for it to light up so dramatically.

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  17. Dear Rosemary,
    Thank you for sharing your photograph and that wonderful poem: It conjures up so many images! As I had not really heard of Thom Gunn before this caused me to read about him (online of course). I wonder if this poem was written in his younger years, before he went 'wild'?
    Kirk

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    1. Dear Kirk - The poem was in his 1994 Faber Collected Poems so I am assuming it was written around that time. If you read about him I am sure you realised that he experienced a lot of sadness throughout his life especially with his mother's suicide when he was fairly young. His poems should be read aloud.

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  18. You have a one of a kind picture here Rosemary! Fantastic effect. The snail appears to be some strange kind of astronaut exploring the cosmos. I wonder if it thought the burst of light (from your flash) was the rocket engine flaring as he moved through outer space :)

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    1. Dear Rosemary - this photo is an example of why it pays to have your camera close at hand. Yes, someone else mentioned that it looked like something from outer space, and someone wondered whether the snail experienced an epiphany when the flash went off. All I can say is that it did not move its antennae, retreat into its shell or even blink and eyelid, to they have eyes?

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  19. Gorgeous picture Rosemary!Amazing photo!!You're a great photoghrafer Rosemary!I ╬▒dmire you!!Come and meet my friend Bob,in my today's post,http://decdimisaussi.blogspot.gr/,he's an exelent photographer,from your place too!!Wishing you a lovely evening!
    Dimi..

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    1. Dear Dimi - you are very generous with your kind comments - thank you. I have given you a link to another blog on your blog which I hope you will enjoy.

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  20. I was wondering about the photo. Great shot, Rosemary. And a most interesting angle. Still kinda slimy :) Little snail stay away from my hostas, please!
    Loi

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    1. Hostas are their all time favourites and I bet this one has had a go at mine. No doubt it is lurking under the bushes somewhere waiting for their reappearance next year.

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  21. Wow, how magical! The image is outstanding with mystery and wonder of the universe. Even if the effect was serendipitous, you always have natural ability to find something interesting and valuable. I wouldn’t have imagined “the slow passion to that deliberate progress”, either, if I didn’t read this poem. Thank you, rosemary.

    Yoko

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    1. It was dark, I was peacefully reading my book, when I suddenly saw the snail making its way up the window outside. I suppose the unusual thing is to actually be able to see it from underneath, a view we are not so used to seeing. Thank you for your very thoughtful comments Yoko.

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  22. Dear Rosemary, I wandered around in your blog a bit and I must say, your photographs are nothing short of marvelous and beautiful too! Masterpieces indeed! The snail photo is superb and the little poem going with it very lovely! :-)

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    1. Dear Yael - thank you for your visit, and pleased that you enjoyed having a look around. Do call again.

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  23. such an amazing night snail portrait! I am speechless, I lov eit...great work...I love snails too, when they dont play too shy and show me their head+eyes;-))happy rest of the week!

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    1. Dear Jana - I think that you are the only person who has said they like snails - good for you. Glad you enjoyed seeing the snail portrait.

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  24. Quite surreal! Amazing to get a shot like that so easily! x

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    1. It surprised me when I put it on the computer!!!

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