The Oregon Giant Earthworm

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Written by Gritfish

(a participatory poem)
The Oregon Giant Earthworm
(Driloleirus macelfreshi)

<simultaneously>

Chant 
(with foreboding)  
 

Response
 (continuous, with  drumming )

 

Morning mist and moist fog,  
A wet forest trail,  
A moss-covered log,
Orange-brown-spiraled land snail, 
I walk with a purpose:  
 
worm sighted, worm gone,
worm sighted, worm gone,
worm sighted, worm gone,
worm sighted, worm gone, 
bird count.
     Driloleirus  (hyaliiee!)

 

Three feet in length, 
Lives in the earth
Of Oregon rain forests, 
Three inches in girth,
Smells like a blossom,  
 
the giant white earthworm,
the white Oregon earthworm,
the royal white earthworm,
the giant Oregon earthworm,
lily-sweet.
     macelfreshi  (hyaliiee!)   

 

Scan to the right, scan to the left, 
Deft tick-marks on the clipboard,
A peripheral glimpse—newt or white eft?  
Each creature acknowledged and scored,  
(Was that white something I saw 
 
time present, time gone,
time-drenched-time gone,
time present, time gone,
time-drenched-time gone,
a phosphorus ghost?) 
     Driloleirus  (eeiilayh!)

 

A tubular form, with annelid rings 
Glides from under wet leaves and then halts.
Sensing my footsteps, the king of worm-kings 
Retreated completely into subterranean vaults: 
Retraction so rapid that it made a sound—            

                                                                           

worm sighted?  worm gone?
an Oregon giant earthworm? 
an Oregon giant earthworm?
worm sighted?  worm gone?

'zwwhisstkt!"         macelfreshi (hyaliiee!)                                    

 

Five decades ago, on a misty moist morning,   
I saw a creature that now may be extinct. 
Should I be mourning
For the loss of a forest and worm precinct?
Does it matter
If, thread by thread, the fabric of life
Is shred to a tatter? 
forever? worm gone?
worm gone? forever?
forever worm gone! 
the Oregon giant earthworm,
the Oregon giant earthworm,
gone, wondrous creature!
Yes! See it! Yes!
     Hyaliilee!   

Gritfish © 2003 

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