Earthworms Deserve More Poems!

A friend recently asked me for a copy of this poem I wrote back in 1999, while at a writer's colony in Taos, New Mexico.

I'm glad she did, for I'd forgotten about it and was glad to be reunited with the strong pleasure I feel when I remember to take the time to commune with the worms. Earthworms are one of the many unsung heroes of the natural world. For gardeners, they're good friends, but all of us who eat are directly enriched by the work they do.

And so I hope you'll enjoy my poem, "Reward."

You must first be willing to kneel before the meadow.
Align your ear to its uneven surface and you will hear
the wheezing earthworms below, rubbery locksmiths
tunneling through their monotonous dimension. You
will hear the mild sucking of the earth entering into them,

the rasping friction of soil undulating uneasily through
them, and its loose translation into unstrung

baby bracelets of aerated loam. Look around you,

for you are kneeling amidst a sea of worm-castings,

amidst their labor and its souvenirs.

Then smell the worked-over soil their bodies revise.
And in that scent, find the echo of the sound,
its manifestation: the world passed through

the earthworm’s body
a key in its keyhole,

music through its bell.

1 comment:

Comfrey Cottages said...

Gerry, this is magnificent! An ode to earthworms:) They do deserve more respect! Thank you for sharing