A Worm of Robbins

Not having died yet, I can’t say

how difficult it is, or even if it is.

I’m sure it varies. Death must have

the widest repertoire of all, considering that

the universe’s sole consistency is entropy.


But this I know so far: for me, at least,

likely it’s not pain or fear or fear of pain

or life’s small cruelties or monstrous ones

that can make dying hard. They’d make it easy,

I should think: to leave, to sleep, slip free.


But suddenly in autumn, morning glories

poke soft cerulean heads above the crisp

ivy they’ve climbed to the top of my garden fence.

Here. They swivel, seeking the pale November

sun. Three mornings later, they are done.


And suddenly in winter, bent double by a freezing

rain, hurrying along Ninth Street, there: swarming

a thorntree blistered with red berries, maybe thirty

robins. That’s called a worm of robins, I discover.

Passers-by scold the soaked old woman who laughs,


leisurely taking pictures with her phone. I’ll plant

a hawthorn! she thinks-but finds they live for centuries,

needing decades to fruit. Plant then for others, I learn,

hold your own brief hour in light regard. It’s sweetness

that turns leaving sour, joy that makes dying hard.








Photo by Hannah Oliver on Unsplash





Robin Morgan

Journalist, editor, activist and child actor, Robin Morgan has been a leader in the feminist movement since the 1960s. Morgan ...more