O Lord, am I not but a slithering worm,
By nature and long practice far too weak
To keep a single precept of your Law?
And though I curl, each night upon my bed,
Into a soft cocoon that I have made
From sheets and blankets, shields against the cold,
Each bleary morning when I wake and rise
I’m warm and somewhat rested, but unchanged.
Yet every year you show your glory forth
When you bring caterpillar-worms, asleep
Within their chrysalises, from that form
Of ugliness in looks and actions both
That meanly, inching, crawls from leaf to leaf
To see what greenery it may devour
Into a transformed flesh, and to free flight
Across the land on wings of glistening beauty—
Lord, who paints each butterfly and flower
And gives the sparrow chicks their daily bread,
Just as that Providence has fed us too,
So rather than a pause amid my daily crawl
May my swathed, shivering sleep work transformation,
And may I wake to find myself so changed
That I would flutter up the heavenward path.

I began this several weeks ago (probably when the weather first turned seriously cold, and the image suggested itself), let it turn over several times in my mind, then buckled down and finished it this week. As usual it went in a somewhat different direction than I’d initially thought.

As always, I earnestly welcome your comments, suggestions, questions, critique, or other feedback about this or any other part of my work. (In other words, if you liked this poem, or you didn’t like it, or it made you think of something, or … please leave a comment to let me know.) If you liked this, you can follow this blog, which includes one of my poems every Friday, or read other poems I’ve written here on my blog (starting with yesterday’s archive installment, since the full archive is by now, at well over a hundred poems, somewhat daunting); I’d especially like to know, as part of my preparations for a collection, which poems you think are my best. You may also share this poem with others, subject to my sharing policy.

This poem is also mirrored on my wiki.


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