It’s a worm’s life

Poetry, Wildlife

Recently, I’ve started to follow a few poetry blogs, and last week, David of The Skeptic’s Kaddish, accepted a challenge: to write a Quatern.

A what? This …

Not just any old quatern however. This one has to contain the word ‘quiet’. I thought I’d have a go too. It happens that this fits quite nicely into my self-imposed challenge, set as I looked yet again at my geological map of Great Britain. What’s it like for worms? Some of them contend with sandy soil, others heavy clay. Some soil is chalky, some loamy, and what must soil up in the old coalfields be like? Or that thin acid soil of the moorlands?

I’ve written a gaggle of poems about worms, each one living in a different kind of soil: I obviously don’t get out enough. Each poem uses a different verse form. So why not sum the whole worm thing up in a quatern?

Quiet - can you hear a sound? 
The barley rustles in the breeze.
A buzzard mewls, the crows confer,
The rabbits waken. Dusk descends.

Below the ground it’s different though -
Quiet - can you hear a sound?
There are no noises from the worms
who turn the earth, eat leaves and chaff.

Their world of darkness is not ours.
They churn the soil by night and day.
Quiet - can you hear a sound
as worms keep soil in rude good health?

There’s life above, there’s life below -
each dependent on the other.
Do not dismiss the lowly worm:
quiet - can you hear a sound?

20 thoughts on “It’s a worm’s life

    1. Haha! Well, none really. It came about when I was staring at my Geological map of Britain, and I fell to thinking – as you do – about what varied terrains those worms have to deal with. So I picked a few – Thames mud, Kentish chalk, acidic moors and so on and took my mind for a walk.

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  1. Well Margaret, after being a bit grossed out by the worm image (which of course is perfect for your post!) I thoroughly enjoyed your poem which is beautifully written and of course make us reconsider our disdain of the little creepy crawlers. Did you have Halloween in mind as you wrote it?! You really are very talented.

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  2. Margaret, love the photo of the worms as your feature. At first I thought it was your grandson’s hands but after looking I am not certain. I love the poem and it’s structure. Clever and engaging, the written and spoken word is inspiring. There is so much to know and learn. Keep it up. Peace.

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    1. No, Clay, the worm picture is a stock photo that I should go back and acknowledge. Thanks for reminding me. Thanks so much for your appreciative words.

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  3. Margaret! I had goosebumps reading your poem. We live in a world that continues to sustain our way of life in ways that we cannot see or imagine. “There’s life above, there’s life below ….can you hear a sound.” A wonderful reminder to listen quietly and hear the sounds of the universe.

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  4. Oh well done, worms deserve a good poem (or more) just as much as any tyger, mouse or dog named Flush. Think those fine worms in the top photo look like compost worms of which some might be tiger worms.

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