Earthworm: drawings from observation

An exploration of external and internal anatomy, by Katherine Beigel

Section from Katherine Beigel's drawing

Ecologically indispensable, the earthworm is an intriguing organism both inside and out. With musculature and a digestive system that span its entire length, the earthworm’s activity in its environment contributes a slew of biogeochemical effects to the surrounding soils and local organisms. I took careful observations of its anatomical structures, particularly as they may relate to the worm’s physiology and behavior. Like many organisms that contribute to overall ecosystem health, the earthworm’s evolutionary lineage is intimately intertwined with its habitat. Understanding this valuable relationship allows humans to incorporate it into their own dwellings, overlapping the boundaries of modern human living with the natural world.

– Katherine Beigel



by Ann Corley Silverman

The sibilant ‘s’ slides quietly into the open oil of a liquid landfall.
Photo by Ann SilvermanA slight growl pushes air into what is round beneath the feet.

The dental stability of final sound an anchor on planet underfoot.
But here, the liquid.
No labial pout, no punctuation.

So much for definition.

Worms turn in the soil of our syntax, enriching excrementally
the nature of understanding.
All lips and liquid boundaries.
Mouthfuls of earth in endless periods.
This life. And this life. And this life.

A surface of soil, at midpoint to tree, cushions the foot.
Some surface in a plowed field sucks at the boot and removes it.

Some surfaces slip inside and under.
Feet sink into surf.
Toes splayed in mud and sand grow no roots.
Attempting, though, a pirouette,
Striking some balance of the awe-struck.