Worms finer for fishing you couldn't be wishing; I delved them dismayed from the velvety sod; The rich loam upturning I gathered them squirming, big, fat, gleamy earthworms, all ripe for my rod. Thinks I, without waiting, my hook I'll be baiting, And flip me a fish from the foam of the pool; Then Mother beholding, came crying and scolding: "You're late, ye young devil! Be off to the school." So grabbing me bait-tin I dropped them fat worms in, With globs of green turf for their comfort and cheer; And there, clean forgotten, no doubt dead and rotten; I left them to languish for nigh on a year.
One day to be cleaning the byre I was meaning, When seeing that old rusty can on the shelf, Says I: "To my thinking, them worms must be stinking: Begorrah! I'd better find out for myself." So I opened the tin, held my nose and looked in; And what did I see? Why, most nothing at all. Just darkness and dank. and . . . a something that stank, Tucked down in a corner, a greasy grey ball. My worms - no, not dead, but thin as a thread, Each seemed to reproach me, protesting its worth: So softly I took them and tenderly shook them Back into the bosom of mothering earth.
I'm now in the City; 'tis grand, but I pity The weariful wretches that crawl in its grime; The dregs and the scum and the spawn of the slum, And the poor little children that's cradled in crime. Sure I see them in terms of my pitiful worms, surviving despite desperation and doom, And I wish I was God, with a smile and a nod To set them all down in a valley of bloom, Saying: "Let these rejoice with a wonderful voice For mothering earth and for fathering sea, And healing of sun, for each weariful one Of these poor human worms is a wee bit of me. . . . Let your be the blame and yours be the shame: What ye do unto them ye do also to ME."