Darwin’s Piano Forte May31


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Darwin’s Piano Forte

Darwin’s Piano Forte

Tricia Knoll

Published in Written River #10


I love fools’ experiments. I am always making them.
—Charles Darwin

Emma, Darwin’s wife, played for Charles daily,
also to his pots of worms, rototillers

he proved undermined Druid stones. He detected
that his worms, though deaf, feel vibrations

in pots on top of a piano as rumbled warnings
to rise to the surface to evade moles.

He calculated that England churns through
the intestines of worms over and over without end.

I wonder what nocturne, what etude
she played for his night crawlers

to sink grandiose monuments of ancients,
and still pass forward richer soil

through the harrowing of death.


Tricia Knoll is a Portland, Oregon poet. Much of her work is eco-poetry. She tends a native plant garden with platinum certification from the Audubon Society and the Columbia River Land Trust. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener who has walked many hundreds of miles on the northern Oregon coast.