Nautilus in Verse

A good poem, like a good riddle,
May take a long time to unwind,
And in that time we find its pleasure.
The old nautilus shell—spiraling,
Whorled, and iridescent—shows at once
Its bright chambers to light
And hides its cavities in shadow.
Turn the thing, and find its great eye
Watching like a riddle, or a poem,
To see whether its strange bearing can be found.
They are ancient and pearly, these things,
Found in the icy depths of profound waters:
Hard without, soft within, cryptic and fascinating—
A verse in a nautilus, a nautilus in verse,
Two marvelous twists in an ocean of poetry.