It's leaf-scuffing time in our part of the world. I've been appreciating the industry of earthworms.
My son rescues foolhardy earthworms
ensures they get a safe ride home
on his skateboard. It's old, well-used
enough for the grip-tape to hold,
not graze an earthworm's body.
He takes care not to go too fast.
When we're out in the car, we keep a watchful eye
on the road - not because of the traffic, mind
but in case after rain, earthworms might
slither onto verges, tackle the pedestrian crossings
attempt to take on the city's traffic.
"We can't just leave them" he protests
They'll keep on creeping to the middle
of the road. They have no eyes to see
no obvious front or back."
He has a point. Besides, I have my own soft spot
for earthworms, the more since chameleons
bent in gnarled attitudes of prayer
have long since left my garden.
Back home in the kitchen - the earthworms
safely transferred from tarmac to skateboard deck
to fresh-cut grass - I pull out a book
and introduce my son to Rousseau's famous Dream
painting; yellow-eyed tigers stalking
long-legged lotuses, the sound
of a primitive wind instrument
a daytime moon.
In the bottom right-hand corner, he draws
my attention to an enormous earthworm
Henri Rousseau - The Dream (1910)
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