Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Shell (Odilon Redon), Sonnet #230

Found empty on beaches, a snail's life's completion,
(But for the occasional hermit crab squatting),
The record of years of unconscious secretion,
Like an old oak tree's sawed rings, without rotting.
The exterior is rough and pointed, lining
As smooth as fired glaze, lucent, roseate, shining.
Pick one up and look deeper inside than you can.
All forgotten dreams fit snugly in living shell.
Ear-worms of time sing from the conch's well
And whisper secrets of the universe's plan.
(It's only the echo of the blood in your brain,
They say, or the pounding of the bounding main.)
The conch is -- we can reach inside, attempt to seize
Its mind. We can also try to swallow the seas.

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