Earthworm Poem

Jun 30, 2017

Today’s poem is "Earthworm Poem" by Dennis Camire. He teaches college writing at Central Maine Community College and just published his first book, Combed by Crows. He's also on the board of Maine Poetry Central which curates the Portland Poet Laureate Program and the poetry series, In Verse: Maine Places and People, which appears each Sunday in The Sun Journal.

He writes: “Being an avid gardener, I'm always in contact with worms and am amazed at their humble labor which builds soil and allowed untold species on this planet to take off and thrive. As a child, too, I was exposed to some amazing scientific facts regarding worms and these facts really worked their way into my heart and, decades later, came out in this poem.”

Earthworm Poem
Dennis Camire

As children we’d incarcerate
                    These blind miniature snakes
Inside the fist’s solitary confinement
                    Then marvel at their Braille-
Reading nose always finding the escape-
             Hole between pointer-finger and thumb. Later,

              Our fascination with their five hearts
Inspired us to raise the squirming
                    Earring of them to our ear lobes
In hopes of hearing a few notes
                    From the neck’s orchestra of organs...
Until, a grade or two further—learning

Of the amazing tail regeneration
                After bird scissors it below midriff—
We saw how our awe for these earthy eels
               Would , too, always regenerate to squirm
Through the brain’s gray matter
         Despite all the packed asphalt of our learning

         So that, maybe, we might trust
That continued urge to emerge
                 With flashlights rainy nights
To wander the gravel drive
                    And rescue these near-drowned beings
Into the ICU of compost pile—

              Where, kneeling, now, as they burrow
Through eggs and coffee grounds,
                    We finally digest the miracle
Of a million of these slick,
                 Soil factories below each tilled acre
Replacing two inches of dirt

              Each growing season;
And with soil scabbing our knees
                    And our own fingers worming
Into dirt, feel a like blessedness—
                A birth—in our own blind returning
To our beloved earth.

Poem copyright © 2017 Dennis Camire.
Reprinted from Combed by Crows, Deerbrook Editions, 2017
by permission of Dennis Camire.