Cornucopia

Desert Bighorn Sheep by Bill Gracey and Two Ramshorn Snails by Destroysoil

Cornucopia

Ramshorn snails with ammonite shells,
A spiral without a hint of helix,
More like a wheel than a pyramid, I feel,
Just adding variety into the mix.
Some look drunken with sideways shells,
Half flat on their backs and half-falling off
Like a coil of rope – but they seem to cope,
And it’s still a home, and we shouldn’t scoff.

And honestly, they’re shaped much more like a ramshorn
Than any ram’s horn, which is more like a corkscrew –
Though any shepherd could tell you with scorn
That some horns’ spirals leave gaps you could walk through.
Unlike the snails, those geometric purists –
And yet they’re just tourists in the twist of fate –
They barely take a turn and let the helter-skelter churn,
Yet rams’ horns grow ev’ry which way but straight.

But I know what you’re thinking: what about the hermit crabs ?
What of it will spring-loaded scavengers make ?
Will they recycle these torus-shaped slabs,
Or are they afraid that their body-skew will break ?
Is such shelly symmetry unnecessary gimmickry ?
Or circular efficiency for streamlining’s sake ?
Much better suited than the filigreed or fluted,
Or the messy-convoluted coilings of a snake.

Ramshorn snails with ammonite shells,
So ambidextrous in their twisting –
Easy gliders or top-heavy sliders ?
Some are upright, and others are listing.
If snails have ramshorns then rams have crownhorns,
The biggest ones worn by the king of the dales –
And even when shorn, it becomes a shepherd’s cornet
To warn us of the wolves or the thieves or the snails.

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