Can a snail think? –
asked Joaquin of Janine.

Sagacious the Snail
slithered and smiled
his ponderous route
down the turret face
of the Baptistery of
La Sagrada FamilĂ­a

They’re obsessed with
themselves – his feelers
reminded him

Humankind thinks
itself the centre
of the universe
and doesn’t allow
time for contemplative
snail sliding, or the
forest from which a
Christmas tree was
plucked or the
apple that will
surrender its life
and history to the
grace of a sparkling

Nor do they wonder
how far down below
them this hardest of
all rocks began to form
millennia ago before
being raised and washed and
dressed and hammered and
shaped into sky-searching
spires in a Temple of Light
that gives part-lie to the
weakness of my snail-like

For here in and
on this basilica in
Catalan sunlight one
contemplative member of a
sometimes brash
homo sapiens has
afforded space and
glory and its own unique
history of species to an
oddly permanent Christmas
tree, fruits in painted
stone and giant snails
among other creatures on
an unimaginably spiritual

Anton Gaudi really gets snails
and apples and rocks and trees

And illumination

Simon Marsh