close close2 chevron-circle-left chevron-circle-right twitter bookmark4 facebook3 twitter3 pinterest3 feed4 envelope star quill

Worm Poems

Table of Contents

  1. The Worm by Elizabeth Madox Roberts
  2. The Nightingale and the Glow-worm by William Cowper
  3. The Silk-Worm's Will by Hannah Flagg Gould

  1. The Worm

    by Elizabeth Madox Roberts

    Dickie found a broken spade
    And said he'd dig himself a well;
    And then Charles took a piece of tin,
    And I was digging with a shell.

    Then Will said he would dig one too.
    We shaped them out and made them wide,
    And I dug up a piece of clod
    That had a little worm inside.

    We watched him pucker up himself
    And stretch himself to walk away.
    He tried to go inside the dirt,
    But Dickie made him wait and stay.

    His shining skin was soft and wet.
    I poked him once to see him squirm.
    And then Will said, "I wonder if
    He knows that he's a worm."

    And then we sat back on our feet
    And wondered for a little bit.
    And we forgot to dig our wells
    Awhile, and tried to answer it.

    And while we tried to find it out,
    He puckered in a little wad,
    And then he stretched himself again
    And went back home inside the clod.

  2. The Nightingale and the Glow-worm

    by William Cowper

    A Nightingale, that all day long
    Had cheer'd the village with his song,
    Nor yet at eve his note suspended,
    Nor yet when eventide was ended,
    Began to feel, as well he might,
    The keen demands of appetite;
    When, looking eagerly around,
    He spied far off, upon the ground,
    A something shining in the dark,
    And knew the glow-worm by his spark;
    So stooping down from hawthorn top,
    He thought to put him in his crop.
    The worm, aware of his intent,
    Harangu'd him thus, right eloquent —

    Did you admire my lamp, quoth he,
    As much as I your minstrelsy,
    You would abhor to do me wrong,
    As much as I to spoil your song;
    For 'twas the self-same pow'r divine
    Taught you to sing, and me to shine;
    That you with music, I with light,
    Might beautify and cheer the night.
    The songster heard his short oration,
    And, warbling out his approbation,
    Releas'd him, as my story tells,
    And found a supper somewhere else.

    Hence jarring sectaries may learn
    Their real int'rest to discern;
    That brother should not war with brother,
    And worry and devour each other;
    But sing and shine by sweet consent,
    Till life's poor transient night is spent,
    Respecting in each other's case
    The gifts of nature and of grace.

    Those Christians best deserve the name
    Who studiously make peace their aim;
    Peace, both the duty and the prize
    Of him that creeps and him that flies.

  3. The Silk-Worm's Will

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    On a plain rush hurdle a silk-worm lay,
    When a proud young princess came that way;
    The haughty child of a human king
    Threw a sidelong glance at the humble thing,
    That received with silent gratitude
    From the mulberry leaf her simple food,
    And shrunk, half scorn and half disgust,
    Away from her sister child of the dust;
    Declaring she never yet could see
    Why a reptile form like this should be;
    And that she was not made with nerves so firm,
    As calmly to stand by a 'crawling worm!'

    With mute forbearance the silk-worm took
    The taunting words and the spurning look.
    Alike a stranger to self and pride,
    She'd no disquiet from aught beside;
    And lived of a meekness and peace possessed,
    Which these debar from the human breast.
    She only wished, for the harsh abuse,
    To find some way to become of rise
    To the haughty daughter of lordly man;
    And thus did she lay a noble plan
    To teach her wisdom and make it plain,
    That the humble worm was not made in vain;
    A plan so generous, deep and high,
    That, to carry it out, she must even die!

    'No more,' said she, 'will I drink or eat!
    I'll spin and weave me a winding sheet,
    To wrap me up from the sun's clear light, And hide thy form from her wounded sight.
    In secret then, till my end draws nigh,
    I'll toil for her; and, when I die,
    I'll leave behind, as a farewell boon
    To the proud young princess, my whole cocoon,
    To be reeled and wove to a shining lace,
    And hung in a veil o'er her scornful face!
    And when she can calmly draw her breath
    Through the very threads that have caused my death;
    When she finds, at length, she has nerves so firm,
    As to wear the shroud of a crawling worm,
    May she bear in mind, that she walks with pride
    In the winding sheet where the silk-worm died!'