Counter-poem: Selima’s snail


The Poetry Review — submissions for non-members of The Poetry Society
Submitted on August 17, 2022

Your name
Conny Borgelioen

Titles & no. of poems submitted
Selima’s snail 1

Cover Letter
Dear editors,

I felt somewhat riled by Selima Hill’s poem “The Snail”, published in The Poetry Review Summer edition and on the website. I have much respect for this poet’s extensive oeuvre and long-established career, but the anthropocentric and speciesist tone of this poem didn’t go down well with me on this particular day. I felt compelled to write a little counter-poem.

Best regards,

Conny Borgelioen


Selima’s snail

My world was a ditch, rich in everything
I needed, when I was plucked — my gills flapped
from fear — from my garden home. Life had been
interrupted abruptly. Frightening,
the pink deformed blob appeared in my sky
many times, this fleshy mass hovering.
I learned to associate it with force
feeding of ever more exotic food-
stuff that left my radula tingling.
Alone, I would just zone out for days

on end, there was nothing to do but look
for a way out from the top of a rock.
A sinful waste of life, I never had
a chance to perform the important tasks
of my species. I would explore the boundary
of my prison, looking for a cranny,
a small crack, in the slippery container,
to wiggle my way through and out at night.
Robbed of my meaning, I hardly slept.
It is absurd to imagine me happy.

7 thoughts on “Counter-poem: Selima’s snail

  1. 😍 I love that you really did hurl it in their faces! (In a necessarily slow-motion way.) I have a feeling it was shared pretty widely: it’s brilliant! And you have the satisfaction of knowing you probably caused at least one person to look up snails on Wikipedia, potentially sparking a lifelong passion, a new avocation in animal rights advocacy, and a better appreciation of what poetry is supposed to do.👏

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for understanding Michele! You know, I actually did send this in, with the letter above, to the Poetry Review. I knew that they would never publish it because I’m a nobody in the literature world, but I get great pleasure out of the fact that at least one editor read my letter and poem, and hopefully they quietly agreed with me 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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