I want to tell a little tale
about the love life of a snail
whose parents said to take great care
nor look for love just anywhere.
But Henry knew not what this meant
’til Cupid’s barb on him was spent
and caused his love to reach a girl
who didn’t have a snail’s shell.
And neither was it worm nor fly
that caught the love light in his eye.
Instead he gave it to a bug
who sunbathed on a garden trug.
His mother said ‘this cannot be
and you can blame it all on me.
You’re not the man you thought you were.
You’re not a him. You’re not a her.’
‘We really need to set things right.
You see you are hermaphrodite.
So leave your bug however dear
and do not shed a single tear.
For ne’er in all your livelong days
will both of you a family raise.’
Now poor old Henry’s heart was broke
his happy dreams gone up in smoke.
And to his lady love he said
‘it isn’t right for us to wed.
We cannot make a family
so as from now I set you free.’
But she said, ‘no it’s not too late.
For me you’re just the ideal mate.
I’m sick of hatching little bugs.
We’ll just make do with lots of hugs.’
(c) Helen McKinlay
- courtesy Jon Sullivan
This is a turn of the century love poem in the style of gastropods, being of the order stylommatophora.
Sound good? The writer …me… was doing a lot of gardening at the time. I have no other explanation for its existence! It was first published in Boulder Writers Two, Nelson 2008.
If you can still see through the film of tears which has glazed your eyes after reading Henry’s tale, you might like to visit the Tuesday Poem Blog here.