I have written a poem called The Non Conformist Snail about a slug, a snail and a butterfly. I wrote it for my daughter Jennifer who is one of the movers and shakers of this world. She looks at the world in a unique way and I am privileged to see the world from her perspective. I wish we had more people like her in this world.
The Non Conformist Snail
This slug leads a carefree life
slithering along the path.
Instead of slithering from A to B
she slithers from B to A instead.
This slug makes up her own mind and
lives by her own rules.
That is until the time comes
when she goes to school.
This slug is so excited.
She thinks learning is fun.
She has read so many books and
She knows there is more to learn
as her cousin goes to a place
where 2 + 2 = 4 and
there is paint, pencils and paste.
This slug packs her lunch and
school books in a shell.
She pushes in a pencil case as well.
She attaches the shell to her back with a strap.
On her head she wears a school cap.
This snail is ready for school.
It turns out the school is the underneath of a house
and the first lesson this snail learns is
to keep clear of a mouse,
how not to be a bird’s snack,
how not to be mashed on a path by a misplaced foot.
This snail learns the only way to do this is
to stay in one place and stay put.
Apart from survival of the fittest,
many lessons were learnt
as the snails sat row upon row
and the teacher slithered to and fro.
This snail was getting bored.
Her shoes were much too tight.
Her pencil kept on rolling off the desk
and her workbook was never right.
The snail on her left had clips in her hair.
This snail did not know why the clips were there
and what is more, she didn’t care.
This snail didn’t care she didn’t fit in with the others.
This snail didn’t care nobody wanted to play (really she did).
She could stay in the library
and read books all day.
But there came a day when
she had read all the books.
There was no more to be read.
This snail did not have a clue
what she could do instead.
This snail had been eager to learn,
happy to listen and
willing to obey.
Eventually she got tired of
doing this each and every day.
This snail wondered why nobody would listen to her and
let her speak.
Isn’t every snail an individual who is special and unique?
This snail worked out that school didn’t want this snail
to be special and unique.
School wanted her to conform.
This slug wanted to shout
‘I don’t care if I don’t fit in.
I don’t want to conform.
I don’t want to know what and where.
I want to know how and why.
I am leaving snail school.
I am going to learn to be a butterfly’.
With that this snail ripped off her cap and
threw it in the bin.
The one curl upon her head waved about in the air.
She was happy. She didn’t care.
She threw off her shell and became a butterfly.
And with one mighty leap she took off and disappeared
into the sky.