MoleEarth is his occupation, and the moleworks the turf in his native breaststroke, swimminghallways into the sod—a geonautsupreme, and connoisseur of worms; I’ve heard himbreaking roots an inch beneath my soleand seen how the subterranean specialistcarves out for himself a single, simple role.I envy the expertise he brings to bearon dirt, the narrow office he was given;as for me, my habitat is thought,where I grope and sweat and scrabble out a livingforced to prove—up here in a windy lairas invisible as the mole’s—that there existsan animal who can dig a hole in air. I, vi This castle hath a pleasant seat; the air Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself Unto our gentle senses.Duncan and Banquo, trotting in,halt to admire the castle’s site,the tender air where nesting martinsride the dusk before alightingfive stories up under the battlements.Hautboys, torches, barking, shoutingherald the entry of the king;the pock-jawed groom comes grinning out;such amenities, and makingsuch a good impression on the senses:summer, nestlings—and the croaking ravenalready fledged out in the spreading dark:Drop the curtain; leave them there—believing,witless, and eternally arrivingamong the pretty deer in the castle park.
“Mole” and “I, vi” from CONNOISSEURS OF WORMS: by Deborah Warren.
Published by Paul Dry April 27th, 2021.
Copyright © 2021 by Deborah Warren.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
Deborah Warren is the author of three books of poetry―The Size of Happiness, Zero Meridian, winner of the New Criterion Poetry Prize, and Dream With Flowers and Bowl of Fruit, winner of the Richard Wilbur Award―and a translation of Ausonius: The Moselle and Other Poems. Warren’s writing has appeared in the New Yorker, Paris Review, Poetry, and other publications, and she has won the Robert Penn Warren Prize, Howard Nemerov Award, Robert Frost Award, and Meringoff Award for her work. She lives in Massachusetts.
"Warren goes anywhere, inhabits anything: it is fun to see a poet so willing to embrace metamorphosis . . . A great book."
"Connoisseurs of Worms is a bestiary, a theogony, a field guide, a museum guide, a pantheon, a history of learning . . . Reading these poems will alter your thinking about a good many of the things that share heaven and earth with us.”
―Mark Jarman, author of The Heronry and Dailiness
“T. S. Eliot once defined ‘wit’ as ‘a tough reasonableness beneath the slight lyric grace.’ Deborah Warren's poems are admirable examples of such a quality; their reasonableness always waiting for a good reader to discover it; their lyric grace revealed through the formal strengths of rhyme (often pleasingly irregular), and a persuasive speaking voice with the suppleness of good prose. She is a delight to read―indeed, to read aloud.”
―William H. Pritchard, author of Updike: America's Man of Letters