Thursday, October 19, 2006

Being Kind to Snails

—Norman MacCaig

Stop looking like a purse. How could a purse
squeeze under the rickety door and sit,
full of satisfaction, in a man's house?

You clamber towards me on your four corners—
right hand, left foot, left hand, right foot.

I love you for being a toad,
for crawling like a Japanese wrestler,
and for not being frightened.

I put you in my purse hand, not shutting it,
and set you down outside directly under
every star.

A jewel in your head? Toad,
you've put one in mine,
a tiny radiance in a dark place.


•••Thursday (10/19), 7 PM: Poet David St. John will read from his work as part of the UC-Davis Creative Writing Program Reading Series. 126 Voorhies Hall, 1st
& A Streets, Davis. [I only received one notice about this; it's amazing to me that the event received so little publicity!]

•••Also tonight (Thursday, 10/19), 8 PM: Vibe Sessions Neo-Soul Lounge with Flo-Real and open mic. The Cobbler Soul Food Restaurant (next to Colonial Theater), 3520 Stockton, Blvd., Sac. $5. 916-613-0776.

•••Also Thursday, 8 PM: Poetry Unplugged presents Sacramento Poetry Center President and Poetry Now Editor Bob Stanley. Open mic before/after. Luna’s Café, 1414 16th St., Sac. Info: 441-3931 or Free. Watch for a littlesnake broadside coming from Bob in December!

The Robert Greer Cohn Prose Poetry Award

California Institute of Arts and Letters is pleased to announce the Robert Greer Cohn Prose Poetry Award. The winning poet will receive $300, plus the editors at California Institute of Arts and letters will then work with the poet to select up to ten additional unpublished poems (prose poems or verse poems) from the winning poets body of work for publication in a limited edition chapbook. The winning poem will also be featured in a future edition of the journal, Black Zinnias. Submission Deadline: January 15, 2007. Reading fee: $10 (Payable by check to California Institute of Arts and Letters). The award winning poem, and poet, will be announced by March 31, 2007.

Submit two copies of the poem on separate pages. One page must have your contact information and one page the poem only. Appropriate length of poems: 500 words or less, or one page approximately 50 lines single-spaced or less. All poets are welcome to submit whether previously published or not. The poem submitted must not have been previously published. For more information:

Contact information needed: Name, mailing address, phone number, and email address. Please enclose a SASE for contest results and a SAS postcard for notification of receipt of poem. Mail submissions to:

California Institute of Arts and Letters
Robert G. Cohn Prose Poetry Award
P. O. Box 470746
San Francisco, CA 94147


—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.



Medusa encourages poets of all ilk and ages to send their poetry, photos and art, and announcements of Northern California poetry events to for posting on this daily Snake blog. Rights remain with the poets. Previously-published poems are okay for Medusa’s Kitchen, as long as you own the rights. (Please cite publication.)