To A Snail

By Marianne Moore

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.

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