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A Dr. Seuss-Like Poem About The Woman Who Pulled 14 Worms From Her Eye

Earlier this week, we shared the remarkable story of Abby Beckley — and her run-in with eye worms.

When this young woman felt something crawling around in her eyes, she had the presence to remove said worm and then, over the course of a few weeks, not one, not two nor three ... but 14 nematodes came out from her eye.

At first doctors didn't believe her. Then they saw one squiggle across her eyeball.

The story was so inspirational to reader Wendy Playter that she literally sprung into verse. And posted this message on NPR's Facebook page:

Other commenters on Facebook began adding to the poem — verses came in from John Hirschy (kudos for using "helminth worm" in his lines), Ellen Maddix (the "win the internet" poet), Wendy Beaver and Jonathan Choong (his "she dursen't blink" is Seussian to the max). From all of the many contributions, we've assembled the ultimate eye worm poem.

You Don't Want To Know What Was In Abby Beckley's Eye

A cattle ranch is down this road!
And on the ranch? A nematode!

Where once before just tears had flowed
Her eye now held a different load!
A nematode? A nematode!
And what, pray tell's, a nematode?

"But heavens abound! Is that a worm?!"
Gasped Abby as she watched it squirm
betwixt her fingers and across the sink.
She didn't, daren't, dursen't blink!

The nematodes are there and here,
In each part of the lithosphere!
They live in you, they live in us,
It seems like they're ubiquitous!

She had already had a turn
With one too many a helminth worm.
But she continued down the road,
And there she met the nematode!

Cow optic fluids were their gravy,
(Pity they weren't in the navy!)
"Reproduction!" Worms would sigh...
What's our victory? "Eye eye!"

(Not to to break your flow and spin,
I only want to say you win,
You win the internet, my dear.
That's one thing — like these worms
that's clear.)

There's no attempt from me to roast
A person who's become a host.
But maybe we could all surmise
"From what we've 'herd,'


Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Michaeleen Doucleff, PhD, is a correspondent for NPR's Science Desk. For nearly a decade, she has been reporting for the radio and the web for NPR's global health outlet, Goats and Soda. Doucleff focuses on disease outbreaks, cross-cultural parenting, and women and children's health.