For a Five-Year-Old A snail is climbing up the window sill into your room, after a night of rain. You call me in to see it, and I explain that it would be unkind to leave it there. It might crawl to the floor; we must take care that no one squashes it. You understand, and carry it outside, with careful hand, to eat a daffodil. I see, then, that a kind of faith prevails: Your gentleness is moulded still by words from me, who have trapped mice and shot wild birds, from me, who drowned your kittens, who betrayed your closest relatives, and who purveyed the harshest kind of truth to many another. But that is how things are: I am your mother, and we are kind to snails. FLEUR ADCOCK I love this poem more than ever now. I think I must have lived its truth over and over as nanay to the Artist-in-Residence and the Little Big Boss.