53 Comments
Jun 16Liked by Pádraig Ó Tuama

As a child, I lived in a house called, Snail Creep. It was the most beautiful house where time often stood still.

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Jun 16Liked by Pádraig Ó Tuama

I work as a gardener, I encounter snails often. Sometimes my big boots crush them, this feels terrible. If I spot them first I pick them up and move them to, what I consider ro be safe ground, away from my work and big boots. Then I wonder if they agree, or if maybe I just really pissed them off. Life is a complex business. I move on and continue to cut the grass.

Safe travels Padraig, I hope nobody in work boots interrupts your travels. X

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Just last night, my family and I went for a walk after dinner. It had just rained, and there were snails everywhere (and slugs). And one small, silver snail was slowly, very slowly making its way across the boardwalk, so we all stood around him and protected him as he (she? I have no idea) moved, until finally my husband picked him up gently and set him in the wildflowers growing alongside the walkway. My daughter wondered if maybe the snail didn't like that, just as you wonder sometimes in your gardens. But it seemed like the better option than being exposed to the world, the feet of passersby. I hope she always has the desire to protect small things, beautiful things, and also remains curious about perspectives.

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That's beautiful. Solidarity with youth, family memories and silvery sidewalk snails. X

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founding
Jun 16Liked by Pádraig Ó Tuama

Ooof! What a wise and beautiful poem. So many prompts it inspires. Thank you for sharing! All hail the snail!! 🐌 ✨ ✨✨

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Jun 16Liked by Pádraig Ó Tuama

Padraig,

What a delight to read about your encounter and study of snails! I loved the snail poem and the various collective nouns - path, walk, trail of snails. This made me think of the huge and beautiful banana slugs of the Pacific Northwest U.S. - watching my step trying to avoid squishing underfoot when walking in the forest at night and waking up to a cornucopia of slugs on the tent walls taking cover under the rain fly.

Enjoy your break!

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What an intriguing poem (“The Snail”). Its rich metaphors opened up for me an inquiry into our humanity. What do you make of the line “And the volleyed light”? Not quite sure what it means. Anyway, Happy Father’s Day to all the dads and father figures in your life.

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Jun 16Liked by Pádraig Ó Tuama

We do “follow silver” but we also follow wonderful you, Padraig. You go from us to your places of light and shadows. Enjoy the cool and refreshing moments.

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Jun 16Liked by Pádraig Ó Tuama

I don’t recall the silver trail that led me to find this Substack, but it brings me such joy. Snails and my meditations on the chambered nautilus.

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Jun 16Liked by Pádraig Ó Tuama

Love your response, and you reminded me with your chambered nautilus of another lovely trail: Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s book Gift from the Sea (1991) that is a timeless classic. Thank you.

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As you know, the chambered nautilus closes off each chamber behind her as she grows her shell. That metaphor has stuck with me through difficult years. I love Anne Morrow Lindberg’s book too.

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Love the poem. When my son was wee he loved the snails we'd find in our garden every spring. And he was often beset by sadness to see the many crushed snail shells that lay on the sidewalks and alongside gardens. Thus it has been one of our many Spring rituals to keep an eye out for snails and to pluck them from harms way. I've done so for about a dozen snails over the past month, lifting them gently from our walkway and placing them on leaves under our hedge. I love the quandary about the collective noun for snails. Which reminds me about our vocabulary for all things of the natural world. Robert Macfarlane's book "Landmarks" is a wonderful collection of wonderful vocabulary. He is also the featured subject of an episode of CBC's Ideas program: https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-23/clip/16018430

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I love this image of you and your son transporting snails to safety, chris! These little creatures inspire a protectiveness in us, don't they? For years as a therapist & social worker, I used a snail puppet with my kids. His name was Slowpoke. There was no better way to calm my most anxious and hyper clients than to have them coax Slowpoke from his shell. The part that touched me most? They never gave me a glance once he was on my arm. They became tender and transfixed...🐌.

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Such a beautiful image of connection with children in need of help. I have also witnessed the power of puppets in therapeutic and theatrical settings and it's easy to believe in magic when seeing how people relate to these works of art. Calling your snail puppet Slowpoke and having your kids coax him out of his shell is simple genius. It calms me and moves me just to think about what that must have been like.

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You should meet Slowpoke's counterpart, Sally Sidesaddle! She is a boisterous blonde cowgirl with SO. MUCH. TO. SAY. I like to think I have a bit of them both in me😊. Thanks for your kind comments🙏.

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Jun 16Liked by Pádraig Ó Tuama

I hope you have time to play and visit at all those places you’ll be traveling to.

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Another favorite is a pandemonium of parrots 🦜

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parliament of owls

a murder of crows

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Jun 16Liked by Pádraig Ó Tuama

Sigfried was a slimy slug

His eyes stood out on stalks

He crept into the library

And slithered on the books.

I don’t know why he did it,

He couldn’t read a word.

But every book he walked across

He marked with mucoid turds.

Not my words, not even a snail, but a favorite of mine.

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Jun 17·edited Jun 18Liked by Pádraig Ó Tuama

I very recently studied snails with my students and during that time I had dreams (while sleeping at night) where a supernatural power (a power from within me) lifted me up, high off the ground, and while levitating, suspended, face to the stars, I chanted, "Moon, moon, moon," under the moonlight of a full moon. I didn't know the symbolic resonance of snail & moon. I'm happy to join them together. Thank you : ) And the poem, it's interesting to me that it begins with receding away from the lewd finger of humanity, and at the end, as the reader, I feel pointed at...and I recede away from the poem/finger pointing at me into my own twisted habitation.

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Jun 16Liked by Pádraig Ó Tuama

I always enjoy poetry - or prose - that finds beauty and uniqueness in the common (like snails). Thanks for sharing!

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founding
Jun 16Liked by Pádraig Ó Tuama

Enjoy your break Padraig!

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Jun 17Liked by Pádraig Ó Tuama

Hi, Padraig, here’s a bit of mischief: reading today’s poem “The Snail”, I am transported back to a year’s stay in Ireland(early eighties), where on a lovely Sunny day I was walking the Grand Canal, in Dublin, and came across the canal bench with a fine poem by Patrick Kavanagh, inscribed in the concrete of the bench. Who was the craftsman who memorialized Patrick and his poem? Was the man, or woman, by any chance named Snail? “O commemorate me”. Too. 🏮

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author

The bench in question is inscribed to my friend’s aunt!

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Jun 17Liked by Pádraig Ó Tuama

Eeeeeehhh I love the shiney trails snails leave behind I even have a tattoo that represents it. Snails remind me so much of my grandmothers flower garden.

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Jun 16Liked by Pádraig Ó Tuama

Thank you for this. It moved me.

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