Posted in Reading, Teaching, Writing

A Slow-moving Reminder

"Mov[ing] like a hovercraft . . ."
“mov[ing] like a hovercraft” across one of the granite steps that lead to the front porch
Earlier this afternoon when I spotted a snail on one of the steps to the front porch, I thought of the snail in Paul Muldoon‘s poem “Hedgehog,” the subject of my post from March 4. As I watched the snail glide across the granite, still wet from the rain, I remembered Muldoon’s snail “mov[ing] like a hovercraft, held up by a/Rubber cushion of itself,/Sharing its secret/With the hedgehog.”

And I thought of these lines from my post on March 4:

I cannot say precisely why Muldoon chose to run the simile ‘The snail moves like a/Hovercraft’ from the first line to the second, but I can say—and did say to my students—that it’s an example of enjambment, something to try if we want to achieve a similar run-on effect.

As we begin drafting our own poems, I keep thinking about the pleasure of reading that simile, the surprise followed by recognition. Never before had I thought of a snail moving like a propeller-driven hovercraft. And never before had I thought of the hedgehog and the snail as kindred animals for their ability to retreat into themselves.

The snail, the hovercraft, the hedgehog, the crown of thorns: these are now linked in my mind. That’s what ‘Hedgehog’ has given me.

2 thoughts on “A Slow-moving Reminder

  1. I love this, Jane — I get more accomplished when I move slowly and steadily than when I race through things. How many times do I have to learn this lesson? Many, apparently. Thanks for this slow-moving reminder.

  2. You’re welcome, Rebecca, and thanks for reading. I have to learn the lesson over and over as well. There’s so much writing I need to return to, I’m still slowly trying to figure out what to do first.

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