Monday, April 16, 2007

Mouse and Me

I was at the post office this week to mail off, what else, a book. This particular post office is a counter in the back of a stationery store, in an old creaky floored heritage building. I stood in line for a while, and when the woman in front of me finally moved up to the counter, I noticed something at her feet. Thinking she'd dropped something, I looked down, only to discover a tiny black mouse, scurrying in circles before dashing toward me. Actually it was dashing toward the display unit beside me, a wonderful hiding spot, but the instant it took to see the mouse and realize it was heading for me was enough to make me dance a little jig and try not to scream. I ended up making a strange squeak as I hopped up and down, and then rather embarrassedly looking around, ready to explain "A mouse!". But no-one was looking at me. Not the person behind the counter, not the people close in line behind me (a little too close with all the sneezing going on) - nobody was looking up. Either a) they were all regulars and so already blasé about the presence of the mouse or b) they were all thinking, Just back away and don't meet her eyes...
Since I therefore had nobody to share the mouse sighting with, I am telling you all now :)

An abridged poem, just for that little scared mouse; you can read a few verses here, or hear the entire poem read by a Scotswoman, here.

To A Mouse

Wee, sleeket, cowran, tim'rous beastie,
O, what panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi' bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Wi' murd'ring pattle!

I'm truly sorry Man's dominion
Has broken Nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle,
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
An' fellow-mortal!
But Mousie, thou are no thy-lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men,
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!

Still, thou art blest, compar'd wi' me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But Och! I backward cast my e'e,
On prospects drear!
An' forward, tho' I canna see,
I guess an' fear!

Robert Burns

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