David Herbert Lawrence

Here you will find the Poem Worm Either Way of poet David Herbert Lawrence

Worm Either Way

If you live along with all the other people 
 and are just like them, and conform, and are nice 
 you're just a worm -- 

 and if you live with all the other people 
 and you don't like them and won't be like them and won't conform 
 then you're just the worm that has turned, 
 in either case, a worm. 

 The conforming worm stays just inside the skin 
 respectably unseen, and cheerfully gnaws away at the heart of life, 
 making it all rotten inside. 

 The unconforming worm -- that is, the worm that has turned -- 
 gnaws just the same, gnawing the substance out of life, 
 but he insists on gnawing a little hole in the social epidermis 
 and poking his head out and waving himself 
 and saying: Look at me, I am not respectable, 
 I do all the things the bourgeois daren't do, 
 I booze and fornicate and use foul language and despise your honest man.-- 

 But why should the worm that has turned protest so much? 
 The bonnie bonnie bourgeois goes a-whoring up back streets just the same. 
 The busy busy bourgeois imbibes his little share 
 just the same 
 if not more. 
 The pretty pretty bourgeois pinks his language just as pink 
 if not pinker, 
 and in private boasts his exploits even louder, if you ask me, 
 than the other. 
 While as to honesty, Oh look where the money lies! 

 So I can't see where the worm that has turned puts anything over 
 the worm that is too cunning to turn. 
 On the contrary, he merely gives himself away. 
 The turned worm shouts. I bravely booze! 
 the other says. Have one with me! 
 The turned worm boasts: I copulate! 
 the unturned says: You look it. 
 You're a d----- b----- b----- p----- bb-----, says the worm that's turned. 
 Quite! says the other. Cuckoo!