Good on the Rod, Bad for the Sod

Many people believe that science is a clear cut, fact based study that explains the world we live in. This is true, but what most people don’t realize is that scientific writing takes many forms. Whether it be a lab report, statistic sheets, graphs or in our case a poem, they all aim to convey a representation of individual or group findings. Below is a collection of our groups’ findings about earthworms through scientific poetry.

Crawling Destroyers
by Addison Walkusky


Forest floors of the populated world
populated not only by humans but by specific species
A species classified by what layer of earth it dwells in
Night crawlers (lumbricus terrestris) dominating the soil
Eating the fungi that trees rely on and starving the roots
While trees starve the forest floor dissolves away
Middens everywhere not native to the mitten
English settlers populating destroyers unknown by the porter
Good for farms but devastating to the natural forests
worms continue to thrive in the populated world


Forest Killers
by Hezekiah Lockridge

Two Anecic worms arrived in a place that they didn’t know
A beautiful forest with a nice duff layer and many trees and plants
The worms burrowed deep into the ground like a drill
They didn’t stop burrowing until they got into the E horizon
After all that burrowing the worms were hungry
So they came up to the surface to find some food
The surface had many good things to eat
The worms decided to eat some leaves that made up the forest litter
They took leaf after back down to their burrow to eat
The worms didn’t eat the stems of the leaves so they left them in the opening of their burrows
Meal after meal passed the duff layer was steadily disappearing
Then one day more worms arrived to the forest
These worms were not Anecic worms, they were Epigeic worms
These worms also ate the forest litter and decreased the duff layer
Years passed, more and more Anecic and Epigeic worms arrived to the forest
Together they ate and ate the forest litter until the duff layer was almost completely gone
The other organisms in the forest suffered, many of them died out
Now the forest wasn’t as beautiful as it was before
The forest went from green and lively to brown and depressing
A WTMC science class came to the woods to search for worms
They set up fourth of a meter squares around the forest
In the squares they used mustard water to get worms to come out of the ground
Thirty-one worms each came up in those fourth of a meter squares ranging from 2 to 18 inches
The students realized that the forest was infested
The forest was doomed to be brown and depressing forever
To this day no one knows where those first worms came from
But now everyone knows that worms are forest killers


Forest Fellers
by Matthew Koziol

Worms eat soil, hurt roots
Move slowly, five meters/year
Blacken forest floor


While good for farming
They eat the duff and understory
Not good for forests


Three types of earthworms
Endogeic, Epigeic, and
The big Anecic worms


Am I a hero or a villain?
by Deven Scott

    In the earth consuming
Am I a hero or a villain?
Destruction through eating is my weapon
Devouring the thick yet spongy forest floor
Removing the leaf litter with my jaw less mouth ingesting the cape that protects the forest floor from predators and extreme temperatures
Am I a hero or a villain?
When I consume the bacteria and fungi that swarm and embeds itself onto the roots of the trees which takes two years to germinate and grow
Am I a hero or a villain ?
Underneath the ground I pass through, tunneling down
here are the creatures that can be found
Sometimes when people see me they panic and fret
Even though I only come up when it wet
I’m a sensitive night crawler
Wander aimlessly through the soil
Turning and rotating the soil
The smell of the humus rising
I am a night crawler
Depleting the forest
Consuming the duff layer
Like an elementary school kid racing in for lunch
Earthworms burrowing down
Two meters deep

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9 thoughts on “Good on the Rod, Bad for the Sod

  1. Writing this poem was somewhat difficult. The hardest part was including the science we learned in class and turning it into a poem. Overall I felt like I did a pretty good Job after we did revisions and I got some good feedback from my peers which made it easier for me to become more creative .

    • You made extensive revisions, Deven! I liked the repeating question, “Am I a hero or a villain?” Ending a poem is tricky too, but yours works well to create a vivid image of the burrowing worm.

  2. In my poem, Crawling destroyers, I aimed to explain the destructive behavior of worms. Many people think earthworms are good for the environment, specifically forests. This is not the case, they eat the duff layer and take vital nutrients from the soil. As earthworms are not native to Michigan I described them as colonizers in a new world, original brought over by English settlers. The consequences of introducing a non native species to an environment has usually been detrimental throughout history, worms are no exception.

    • Addison, I’m a fan of the comparison you make to English colonists/invaders. I wasn’t sure what the words “midden” and “porter” mean in the context of your poem. Are they both science words, or just “midden”?

  3. My poem is about how worms hurt forest ecosystems even though most people think they are good, but in reality they are only good for farming and will severely damage a forests ecosystem. This poem is to teach people that worms really are bad for forests and they should try and prevent them from spreading to new forests. The hardest part about writing this poem was coming up with what to write about because I had never made a science poem before.

  4. Writing the poem Forest Killers was based off of two experiences with my Washtenaw Techinical Middle College class. The first was when we took a trip to the hardwoods to see how many worms that we could find in a fourth of a meter area. The second also occurred in the hardwoods when as a class we determined that the hardwoods were infested with worms. I wrote both of these experiences into my poem.

    • I really enjoyed the detail of your poem and the way that it reads like a story, Hezekiah. Ms. Glupker tells me that this is a narrative poem.

  5. My poem Forest Killers is about how a forest can be easily infected by worms. I had to draw from an experience from my WTMC class from when we went into a forest and determined that worms had moved in and hurt the ecosystem of the forest. I hope that my poem teaches people that worms aren’t always a good thing to have.

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