Sonnet to a Clam
Dum tacent claimant
INGLORIOUS friend! most confident I am
Thy life is one of very little ease;
Albeit men mock thee with their similes
And prate of being happy as a clam!"
What though thy shell protects thy fragile head
From the sharp bailiffs of the briny sea?
Thy valves are, sure, no safety-valves to thee,
While rakes are free to desecrate thy bed,
And bear thee off--as foemen take their spoil--
Far from thy friends and family to roam;
Forced, like a Hessian, from thy native home,
To meet destruction in a foreign broil!
Though thou art tender yet thy humble bard
Declares, O clam! thy case is shocking hard!
John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887)
Public domain text taken from The Poets’ Corner: