“A New Law” and “Earthworm”

A New Law

Greg Delanty

Let there be a ban on every holiday.

        No ringing in the new year.

No fireworks doodling the warm night air.

        No holly on the door. I say

let there be no more.

        For many are not here who were here before.



They face in opposite directions to reproduce.

What a miner, pistoning in slow
motion through the underworld of the earth,
engineering vents, channels, water flow,

converting death and dearth,
day in, night out. Each eyeless body
digesting the soil, nursing birth.

Cut in two, they double, breathe via marly
skin, a must for farm and garden: alfalfa,
spuds, spinach, carrots, cabbage, barley,

wasabi, wheat, gourds, rutabaga, papaya,
endive. You name it. Build them a shrine.
May these lowly laborers of Gaia

multiply, flourish, never decline,
stick with worm love, position 69.


Greg Delanty writes the kind of poetry I need right now.  As my capacities diminish, I think more and more of the “many …  not here who were here before.”

Food for worms.  Diet of worms.  “Your worm is your only emperor for diet”.  “A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king.”

As the year dips and falls, I think of nothing more than the losses of the year.  I am of the age where my dreams and waking thoughts are populated by those no longer residing at any known address.  I order boxes of sympathy cards so frequently it is alarming.

My own losses are evident too.  The inability to follow through on any of the literary challenges I set up for myself with so much hope and determination just a year ago now seems as if it was always inevitable.

Greg Delanty was much admired by Seamus Heaney.  And he well deserves to be.  “A New Law” is like a blunt-force trauma.  It’s like Auden’s “Stop All the Clocks” but without the prettifying elegiac effects of dog, bones, and traffic policemen.  It’s sheer grunt.

Author: Gubbinal

Bookish, tea-drinking cat-lady who loves great poetry and music and is in the midst of dying

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