This Arnold Schnabel sonnet first saw light in the May 18, 1963 number of the “Olney Times”. By this point one wonders if the editors of that august and generally upbeat paper were even bothering to read Arnold’s increasingly disturbing poems before running them. But we can only be thankful that print them they did. (Poem republished by permission of the good people of the Arnold Schnabel Society.)
“The Day of the Worm”
When I was a lad, so many years before my fall,
I feared strange moist days like today,
Days of spring, after rain, a sky of steel grey,
When it seemed that no one was outside at all,
Or if they were, they were always several blocks away;
And on such days whilst walking aimlessly around,
I would notice a plethora of worms arising from the ground
And wriggling across the wet concrete pathway,
Millions of them, rising up, implacable and blind;
What did they want, and why were they here?
I wanted only to be home, and to leave behind
Their vileness, their inexorable legions, and my fear.
And, now, from the damp loam of my soul what new creatures
Arise, silent, smiling, and with my own features?
(Check the right hand side of this page for a listing of other classic poems by Arnold Schnabel. You might also enjoy our ongoing serialization of his unexpurgated memoirs, Railroad Train to Heaven.)