a quote from my favorite author

“The most solid advice, though, for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell, and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”

-William Saroyan, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Plight of the Worm

The Slice of Life Challenge is hosted by Two Writing Teachers
I walk into school,
dodging the worms.
It would be tragic
for one to get stuck to the wheel of my cart,
mangled by the plastic treads.

I consider stopping to carry them
each back to the safety of the grass.
But there are so many.
And I am so late.

Inside the building, in the hallway by the courtyard,
I am reminded of the plight of the worm.
The tile is littered with the corpses of worms,
inching their way to the dry safety of the building
by worming their ways through the crack under the door. 

I spot one still moving.
The worm wriggles its wormy self
in an attempt to break free from shiny linoleum.
I pull out my keys.
I open the door.
I am not THAT late.
I pick up the worm.
and transplant him safely in the mulch.

There were so many.
I couldn’t make a difference.
But I made a difference to that one.

I cringe as I exit this building this afternoon
thinking I am sure to see
so many dried little bodies
shriveled up by the sunshine
pounding down on the black pavement.
But as I make my way back to my car
there is not a single worm in sight.

They made it
without my intervention.

Sometimes well wishes
are enough.


  1. I know that worm littered path and I too, feel despair for the bodies headed the wrong way. I am go glad you didn't have worm carcasses to deal with after school.
    I loved how you told the story in a poem format. I need to save this. Thanks.

  2. "Inside the building, in the hallway by the courtyard,
    I am reminded of the plight of the worm.
    The tile is littered with the corpses of worms,"

    I love "the plight of the worm" and "littered with the corpses"

    This was a fun read. In our class, I try to promote taking all insects, spiders, etc. back outside instead of stepping on them...only sometimes to suffer when a teacher stomps on the poor little critter.

    1. Now, Wanda, you know I'd have taken those "stupid"...whoops, swear word...ants outside instead of stepping on them if there hadn't been so many every day!

  3. Your images are wonderful but the visuals are making me freak out.
    Happy Spring, Christy

  4. Great slice, Christy. Kind of like teaching kids, isn't it--you can't save them all, but sometimes you make a difference to one...

  5. There is something so appealing about this--even though I will admit I'm not a fan of worms. Not afraid or anything (I'm a girl who baits her own fishhook for crying out loud), but something so....wormy. :)
    Thanks for writing this!

  6. Ahh, I'm finally in a place to make comments. Traveling all day...Your story is like throwing the starfish back into the ocean as the tide goes out. You may not be able to save all, but it made a difference to one. Funny they would go for the tiles inside, a sure death. But I guess that's like people too. It's close, it's good for the short term, but the wrong direction, and destructive in the end.
    I am glad you could make a difference for one though! And as others have said, it's worth it if you can make a difference with one student.

  7. Christy,
    I love this! Like one of the other comments above, it also reminded me of the starfish story...your words paint such a clear picture! I feel like I was seeing the world through you words!

  8. I use to play with worms as a kid. I still try to save them, too. I love how you made the difference for one but wished many well--the teacher in you is there for even the worm.

  9. You are a kind hearted lady, Christy. I love that you want to save the worms. One thing I noticed about your poem that I think really makes it work is that the language you used for your own thoughts/actions is simple and straightforward "I spot one" "I pick up that worm," and my favourite "I am not THAT late," while the language you use for description is rich, more complex "littered with the corpses," "mangled by the plastic threads." Lovely poem.

  10. Your writing paints a very clear picture. Wow, I would never stop to think about helping all those poor worms. You are all more worm friendly then I am. My thoughts would more likely head towards natural selection. And at the end of the day (I am really not a pessimist, but it is going to sound Eeyore ish)perhaps they had been cleaned up. (Points for honesty?)

  11. You painted a vivid picture, stanza by stanza with your words. Did it rain or something? (The worms come out here after large amounts of rain falls to the ground.)

  12. The topic choice was unexpected but the message you send sounds very much like you - caring and making a difference.

  13. I feel like a kid in a candy shop -- both you and Ruth wrote poetry today. I'm soooo lucky. :)

    Also -- catching up with some of your slices -- I liked the text message one...especially the first conversation you highlighted.

  14. You are my heroine, Christy. I stop & move them too, although it doesn't happen very often to us in Colorado. We really need the rain to make the worms appear. Your poem can be on so many levels, but most of all kindness for all living things. I am reminded of Christina Rossetti's "Hurt No Living Thing, ladybird nor butterfly nor dusky moth of wing..." The lines like "worming their way" "inching their way" and "wriggles its wormy self"-such descriptions that work! Thank you!

  15. Christy,
    When I walked outside this morning-I smelled the wormy smell...then when I walking into the school, I saw worms everywhere-I could not help but think of your post, although I didn't save any...

  16. It must be much more moist where you live than here in Oklahoma. But your poem brought back vivid memories of childhood and trying to save the worms in the gutters after a blessed summer rain.

  17. Your words weave a beautiful scene of worms in a way that I would not have thought of. Thanks for your perspective and taking time to write about the little things.

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