Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Diary of a Church Mouse

Here among long - discarded cassocks, damp stools, and half-split open hassocks,
Here where the Vicar never looks, I nibble through old service books.
Lean and alone I spend my days behind this Church of England baize.
I share my dark forgotten room, with two oil-lamps and half a broom.

The cleaner never bothers me, so here I eat my frugal tea.
My bread is sawdust mixed with straw, my jam is polish for the floor.
Christmas and Easter may be feasts for congregations and for priests,
And so may Whitsun, all the same, they do not fill my meagre frame.

For me the only feast at all, is the Autumn's Harvest Festival.
When I can satisfy my want with ears of corn around the font.
I climb the eagle's brazen head, to burrow through a loaf of bread.
I scramble up the pulpit star, and gnaw the marrows hanging there.

It is enjoyable to taste, these items ere they go to waste.
But how annoying when one finds that other mice with pagan minds.
Come into the church my food to share, who have no proper business there.
Two field mice who have no desire, to be baptized, invade the choir.

A large and most unfriendly rat, comes in to see what we are at.
He says he thinks there is no God, yet he comes.... it's rather odd.
This year he stole a sheaf of wheat, (it screened our special preacher's seat).
And prosperous mice from fields away, come in to hear the organ play.

And under cover of its notes, eat through the altar's sheaf of oats.
A Low Church mouse, who thinks that I am too papistical, and High.
Yet somehow doesn't think it wrong, to munch through Harvest Evensong.
While I, who starve the whole year through, must share my food with rodents who.

Except at this time of the year, not once inside the church appear.
Within the human world I know such goings-on could not be so.
For human beings only do, what their religion tells them to.
They read the Bible every day and always, night and morning pray.

And just like me, the good church mouse.
Worship each week in God's own house.
But all the same, it's strange to me.
How very full the church can be, with people I don't see at all, except at Harvest Festival.

This isn't Harvest Festival time, but thought you might enjoy this poem from John Betjeman.
Winter is a time to keep warm and read, all your favorite books again, then read as many new one's that you can get your hands on.


Lynda (Granny K) said...

Lovely! x

WoolenSails said...

Love the poem.


Dolores said...

I absolutely agree. I just read a book even though I had many other things to do. Book got finished (large print goes quicker) and the sewing continues.
Keep warm.

Remington said...

Very nice! Thank you for sharing!

Faye Henry said...

I love poetry and that poem was priceless...
Thanks, Midge...

♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥ said...

We may be disappearing for a while with the holidays upon us, but we wanted to stop by and send you special wishes for a lovely Christmas with family.

Happy Holidays.

Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

Allie said...

I have never heard that poem before, Midge it's wonderful! And very telling, lol - our churches are packed at Easter and Christmas, and very sparsely attended at other times!

Caroline B said...

I'd forgotten just how good John Betcheman was - thanks for that. I'll hopefully have time to read a book or two in the comimg few days...if the rest of the family will let me!

WendyCarole said...

great poem

Anonymous said...

I asked for books this year. I know for a fact that part of Christmas day will be spent wallowing in the new bath with that treasure Stephen Fry. :-)

LOL I bet he wasn't expecting that! :-)

Victoria said...

That was lovely! I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas!!!

Joanna said...

That's a sweet poem. Thank you for posting it.

Sue Doran said...

It's excellent and I think it's also quite christmassy too.

Have a lovely christmas, Midge

Tweedles -- that's me said...

Oh this poem is so cozy,, and yes it is Christmassy too..
It gives a feeling of wanting to get a cup of nice apple cider and sit by the window with the bears and of course Ames. and wait for Santa