Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Spring is here. Why doesn't his heart go dancing?

Because of the boring demands of quotidian life, it's going to take a couple of more days before we will be able to publish the feverishly-awaited next installment of Arnold Schnabel's Gold View award-winning memoir, Railroad Train to Heaven, and so -- we hope not as a mere sop to the masses -- we offer this re-run of one of Arnold's more beloved poems.

This 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.)


Unknown said...

Doesn't "Day of the Worm" express it better than Eliot's cruelest month?

"And, now, from the damp loam of my soul what new creatures
How well I know the damp loam of my soul, although I've never found the words for it.

Unknown said...

Disturbing but lovely too. I'll remember this one.

Bald Samson said...

Leave it to Arnold to write a poem about worms.

Anonymous said...

It's true, you don't have to.

Jennifer said...

Yowza! Leave it to Arnold to express so beautifully?? Horrifically?? What so many of us have surely felt at some time... I bet even the worms dove for cover once in the presence of such overwhelming genius...

Dan Leo said...

Thanks for the comments, guys. We'll see if we can get that next Arnold chapter by tomorrow...