A distressed Slug one day, prayed aloud to Mother,
you’ve left me less blessed, than my Snail brother.
A lovely shell to show off, a home he takes along,
helping him hide at will, a shelter that’s so strong.
No harm can come to him, the shell keeps all away,
but look at poor naked me, I have to hide all day.
I beg of you oh Mother, please let me have a shell,
then I can crawl at will, and see the world as well.
Mother smiled gently, and spoke with words warm,
you too are equally dear to me, gifted a unique form.
You have a sleek body, to crawl wherever you want,
nooks and crannies of earth, the choicest food haunt.
Your body makes slime so thick, no beak can ever grip,
the foul taste that it has, gives most tongues the slip.
Every child of mine I make, with due reason and care,
I cannot give you a load, you are not meant to bear.
But Slug was resolute, and continued hassling Mother,
and on it went for days, till she had no choice other.
And when one fine dawn, Slug woke up from a dream,
there it was on his back, a shell with a radiant gleam.
His joy now knew no bounds, eager to show off his gift,
he wanted to crawl outside, but his foot he couldn’t lift.
It weighed a ton on him, his slime too now quite less,
an effort it took to move, each step was slow progress.
Soon he found that now, no longer could twist and turn,
not slip beneath rocks for food, that was a big concern.
Smart birds did not peck him, no longer did they attack,
just picked up by the shell, threw him on rocks to crack.
Weary shattered dazed, to Mother his self he crawled,
She caressed him and lo, now no longer was he mauled.
Despite the shell now gone, yet he felt safe and snug,
praised be the wisdom of Mother, to be born as a Slug!
– Narendra Nayak © 2019