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Worms

Worms finer for fishing you couldn't be wishing;
I delved them dismayed from the velvety sod;
The rich loam upturning I gathered them squirming,
big, fat, gleamy earthworms, all ripe for my rod.
Thinks I, without waiting, my hook I'll be baiting,
And flip me a fish from the foam of the pool;
Then Mother beholding, came crying and scolding:
"You're late, ye young devil! Be off to the school."
So grabbing me bait-tin I dropped them fat worms in,
With globs of green turf for their comfort and cheer;
And there, clean forgotten, no doubt dead and rotten;
I left them to languish for nigh on a year.

One day to be cleaning the byre I was meaning,
When seeing that old rusty can on the shelf,
Says I: "To my thinking, them worms must be stinking:
Begorrah! I'd better find out for myself."
So I opened the tin, held my nose and looked in;
And what did I see? Why, most nothing at all.
Just darkness and dank. and . . . a something that stank,
Tucked down in a corner, a greasy grey ball.
My worms - no, not dead, but thin as a thread,
Each seemed to reproach me, protesting its worth:
So softly I took them and tenderly shook them
Back into the bosom of mothering earth.

I'm now in the City; 'tis grand, but I pity
The weariful wretches that crawl in its grime;
The dregs and the scum and the spawn of the slum,
And the poor little children that's cradled in crime.
Sure I see them in terms of my pitiful worms,
surviving despite desperation and doom,
And I wish I was God, with a smile and a nod
To set them all down in a valley of bloom,
Saying: "Let these rejoice with a wonderful voice
For mothering earth and for fathering sea,
And healing of sun, for each weariful one
Of these poor human worms is a wee bit of me. . . .
Let your be the blame and yours be the shame:
What ye do unto them ye do also to ME."

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Robert William Service

Robert William Service was a poet and writer sometimes referred to as the Bard of the Yukon He is best-known for his writings on the Canadian North including the poems The Shooting of Dan McGrew The Law of the Yukon and The Cremation of Sam McGee His writing was so expressive that his readers took him for a hard-bitten old Klondike prospector not the later-arriving bank clerk he actually was Robert William Service was born 16 January 1874 in Preston England but also lived in Scotland before emigrating to Canada in 1894 Service went to the Yukon Territory in 1904 as a bank clerk and became famous for his poems about this region which are mostly in his first two books of poetry He wrote quite a bit of prose as well and worked as a reporter for some time but those writings are not nearly as well known as his poems He travelled around the world quite a bit and narrowly escaped from France at the beginning of the Second World War during which time he lived in Hollywood California He died 11 September 1958 in France Incidentally he played himself in a movie called The Spoilers starring John Wayne and Marlene Dietrich more…

All Robert William Service poems | Robert William Service Books

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    "Worms" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 11 Apr. 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/32760/worms>.

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