🇬🇧 To the Poet – from the Mouse

On turning a page in the works of Robert Burns.

To the Poet – from the Mouse

Ach, Rabbie, apologies accepted;
Your words ring true, you do regret it.
Tho’ mice and men remain related,
   Yet, we know the price;
After all, it is to be expected
  That men kill mice.

Rabbie, we could have had a blether,
A wee natter on life and weather.
In winter we could sit together
  By the fire warmer;
Surely, we could discourse forever,
  My fellow farmer.

Kindred minds, ay, Rabbie Burns,
That we are, and curse him that spurns
A mouse that feels and learns
  From past and present.
Wisdom, they say, is man’s gift to earn,
  But nay, it isn’t.

I shall miss the barns, the fields, the hay.
I shall even miss the owl and cat at play.
Perhaps we may return there one day,
  Poet of the land,
Before our joys and soils are blown away
  And turn to sand.

Death by scythe and death by plough
Is now death by poisons anyhow.
Fens and trees and thickets cease to grow;
  The land’s undone:
A barren scape where empty rivers flow;
  Rabbie, it’s gone.

Man’s dominion is beyond belief;
All your fears will turn to grief.
Tho’ to you it may be small relief
  That mice may then
Retake and repopulate; in brief:
  Replace all men.

Rabbie, in parting let’s rejoice
That men may one day take your advice
And stop the killing and maiming of mice.
  Think, what a feastie!
Be well, may these humble words suffice,
  Yours truly, Beastie.


Rabbie is the Scottish nickname for Robert Burns.

This poem does not properly speaking belong to the Ten Thousand Things Blog and is too squarely placed in the Anglo-Saxon literary canon in which I was formed. But it is related in content and I see it as a one the poems that lead me to the formative idea of this blog. The poem was written in English and no Danish version exists.