The Paper Nautilus by Marianne Moore


The Paper Nautilus Marianne Moore      For authorities whose hopes  are shaped by mercenaries?      Writers entrapped by       teatime fame and by  commuters’ comforts? Not for these       the paper nautilus       constructs her thin glass shell.      Giving her perishable  souvenir of hope, a dull      white outside and smooth-       edged inner surface  glossy as the sea, the watchful      maker of it guards it       day and night; she scarcely      eats until the eggs are hatched.  Buried eight-fold in her eight       arms, for she is in       a sense a devil- fish, her glass ramshorn-cradled freight       is hid but is not crushed.      As Hercules, bitten      by a crab [...]