Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wee Sleekit Mousie

The past couple of days I have been out in the pasture, playing Green Acres with our little mower, mowing weeds. It's a little late in the game, I realize (and probably what the REAL farmers are thinking as they drive past and see me), but better late than never, I say, and besides, the pasture looks really nice and green now, with the remnants of brome still alive and unfrozen.

As I go around on our little mower, I am followed by two horses, two dogs, and two cats. The horses don't follow me as much as they are following the dogs & cats: curiosity killed the cat, I tell the felines. (Curious ponies might just step on a kitty.)

A digression in this story: our farrier came out today to do the horses. The ponies were in fine fettle, finer than the farrier would have liked, in fact. He was exasperated by their antics (who wants a 1500-lb animal dancing while you have a hold of his hoof?) I told him the weather must be changing: there must be a storm coming. Sure enough, tomorrow morning's forecast is for thunderstorms.

Ok, back to the pasture: every once in a while, I would come upon a fast-moving field mouse, scampering for his life. And this poem from my childhood popped in to my head every time:

To A Mouse
On turning her up in her nest with the plough.
by Robert Burns

Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim'rous beastie,
O, what a 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' murdering 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!

I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen icker in a thrave
'S a sma' request;
I'll get a blessin wi' the lave,
An' never miss't.

Thy wee-bit housie, too, in ruin!
It's silly wa's the win's are strewin!
An' naething, now, to big a new ane,
O' foggage green!
An' bleak December's win's ensuin,
Baith snell an' keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare an' waste,
An' weary winter comin fast,
An' cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro' thy cell.

That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble,
Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!
Now thou's turned out, for a' thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the winter's sleety dribble,
An' cranreuch cauld.

But Mousie, thou art 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 are blest, compared 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!

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