To A Snail
If "compression is the first grace of style,"
you have it. Contractility is a virtue
as modesty is a virtue.
It is not the acquisition of any one thing
that is able to adorn,
or the incidental quality that occurs
as a concomitant of something well said,
that we value in style,
but the principle that is hid:
in the absence of feet, "a method of conclusions":
"a knowledge of principles,"
in the curious phenomenon of your occipital horn.
M A R I A N N E M O O R E
(first published in 1924)