Kareen Fleur Adcock (known as Fleur Adcock), (born February 10, 1934) is a New Zealand poet and editor, of English and Northern Irish ancestry, who has lived much of her life in England.
Adcock’s poetry is typically concerned with themes of place, human relationships and everyday activities, but frequently with a dark twist given to the mundane events she writes about. Formerly, her early work was influenced by her training as a classicist but her more recent work is looser in structure and more concerned with the world of the unconscious mind.
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, 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 molded still by words
for 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.