Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Bed Fit For a Small God


Beatrix Potter would, I'm sure, have knit them leggings. Now I am willing to look the other way so a hungry mouse can steal a few crumbs to feed her little waifs. But when they start wearing my slippers and smoking my cigars, I get nervous. Didn't somebody say, "Mice are to be seen and not heard"--no, wait, that's kids. Not my kids, mind you, but somebody's kids. Turns out mice have a penchant for taking over the world. So it's either nip 'em in the bud (i.e. go to the mattresses) or scoot over and hand them the remote.

OK, I have to admit I whacked a couple of them. But as penance I offer the following tribute to their perspicacity, and inventiveness--based on a discovery we made in a kitchen drawer.

Boing Bed

A mouse needs a cosy place
To rest his mousey head,
A comfy nest to curl up in
And make his mousey bed.

Not too big or spacious,
Not too cramped and tight,
But made with bits of stuff
And fluff, and formed just right.

Some mice will sleep on cotton,
Some will sleep on wool,
And they make their perfect beds
Without the help of human tools.

They steal your crumbs and cast-offs,
And snatch bright colored threads,
Tuck buttons, beads, and beans
To shape their waiting beds,

You may even one day find,
And cock your head with fascination,
That they've woven in some tufts
Of housing insulation,

Though most mice find it itchy,
Since it makes their dreams
SurREal, and twitchy,

The favorite stuff to stuff a nest,
Is all the stuff they like the best,
Like shreds of toilet tissue,
Or a torn up lovey-letter,

(If it's pink and perfumy,
That then makes it all the better)

But a mouse might re-decorate her bed,
If there's a need,
By sprinkling sawdust, coffee grounds,
Or just-so sesame seeds,

Now far and away the finest bed
In the world of mice and men,
That quite compares to any nest
Of feathered bird or fluffered hen,

Is a perfect bed I spied
In the corner of a kitchen drawer,
Close to the sink, not far for a drink,
But not too close to the floor,

'Twas a small square box of rubber bands,
No more than one small ounce,
A bed of boing, a cushiony spring,
A mattress full of bounce,

The mouse who slept here, was a well slept mouse,
Completely refreshed and well rested,
And never a mouse found a mousier bed,
Or a better soft place to be nested.




13 comments:

steven said...

richard there's a beautiful book emerging right before our eyes!!! steven

Paul C said...

'A small square box of rubber bands,' It's funny the resourceful places mice find for a most comfortable home. Entertaining poem.

A mermaid in the attic said...

Love it, love it, love it! We are also having mouse problems at the moment, it's getting colder outside so they're moving in! And there is most definitely a book there!

Kitty said...

I think your mouse has some Borrower tendancies! I wonder if they give each other family names - The Kitchen Drawer Mice, the Second-Shelf-On-The-Right-In-The-Garden-Shed Mice..?

The year the mice (The Garage Loft Mice) moved into our house they showed a preference for polystyrene and shreds from our green-and-white striped parasol that was in storage for the winter! I bet they had the warmest, most well insulated nest in all of Ireland.

Birds are as interesting as mice in their nesting habits. I remember being in a museum in Glasgow and seeing a nest that a pair of rooks had made on the edge of a building site - it had strands of metal wire woven through it! And just this spring I startled a sparrow looking quite distracted with the tiniest blade of grass in his mouth and watched a pair of crows collecting straw - one doing the looking and one doing the carrying - looking ever so much like a human husband and wife out shopping...

Richard Jesse Watson said...

Thanks, Steven. Hmmm...perhaps you're right.

Paul, I appreciate your kind comment. "Resourceful" is the perfect word for mice and other scavengers who have found a way to survive--make that thrive at the edges of the human world. Or is it the other way around?

Thank you Mermaid. Oh yeah, it is the opposite seasonal changes that you are having, down under. Mice do like to be warm and cosy, don't they?

Kitty, lol! I love your clan naming. But of course you are right. We all have names that may have come from location or vocation. For instance, I have a dear friend whose name comes from ancestors that were ale wardens.

It made me smile to hear about your comfy mice. And I agree that birds are equally clever. Have you seen pictures of the Bower birds in Australia (is it?) who each pick a certain color or human cast-off (i.e. chewing gum wrapper) to decorate their nests. Fascinating.

Jennifer K. Mann said...

The mouse in our house made his way right into our flexible heating duct...cozy, dry, easy access to a midnight snack....Too bad we really couldn't abide Mouse's house keeping habits. Moved him and all his family out, said "Fare well!" and closed the door (and replaced the duct and all the insulation in our crawl space!). Haven't seen him since.

Richard Jesse Watson said...

Jennifer, I wish your mouse well, and all three hundred cousins.

Doreen said...

the poem is so cute! just like the little furry creatures. must be your cats are sound sleepers?

Flying Selki said...

I love it!

Von said...

Love it!! As suggested, birds are resourceful nesters too..here in Gooseland they use baler twine in pinks and blues, sheep wool and human hair, lengths of green lucerne and feathers from other birds like Guinea Fowl..very picturesque.

Richard Jesse Watson said...

Hi Doreen, and thank you. No, actually our cats are pretty alert. I think the mice are sneaking around under the cupboard.

Thanks, Andrea, P:>)

I appreciate that Von. I would love to see your birds in Gooseland. I liked hearing that the birds use the feathers of other birds. Amazing.

Robin Weiss said...

HA! Great poem! The last mousey house I found was in a box of drywall screws!...Tenacious little buggers they are....=]

Richard Jesse Watson said...

That's funny, Robin. I can not imagine sleeping on a bed of drywall screws. I guess some like a firm mattress.