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Poem of the Day > 109. The Meadow Mouse - Theodore Roethke

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message 1: by Lee (new)

Lee The Meadow Mouse

Theodore Roethke


In a shoe box stuffed in an old nylon stocking
Sleeps the baby mouse I found in the meadow,
Where he trembled and shook beneath a stick
Till I caught him up by the tail and brought him in,
Cradled in my hand,
A little quaker, the whole body of him trembling,
His absurd whiskers sticking out like a cartoon-mouse,
His feet like small leaves,
Little lizard-feet,
Whitish and spread wide when he tried to struggle away,
Wriggling like a minuscule puppy.

Now he's eaten his three kinds of cheese and drunk from his
bottle-cap watering-trough—
So much he just lies in one corner,
His tail curled under him, his belly big
As his head; his bat-like ears
Twitching, tilting toward the least sound.

Do I imagine he no longer trembles
When I come close to him?
He seems no longer to tremble.


But this morning the shoe-box house on the back porch is empty.
Where has he gone, my meadow mouse,
My thumb of a child that nuzzled in my palm? —
To run under the hawk's wing,
Under the eye of the great owl watching from the elm-tree,
To live by courtesy of the shrike, the snake, the tom-cat.

I think of the nestling fallen into the deep grass,
The turtle gasping in the dusty rubble of the highway,
The paralytic stunned in the tub, and the water rising,—
All things innocent, hapless, forsaken.

message 2: by Laurel (new)

Laurel | 1486 comments Mod
Awww so cute! But I'm a bit worried about what's happened to him....

message 3: by Lee (new)

Lee This makes me feel so sad - the same feeling I get just before I change channels on wildlife programs when things are being pounced on.

message 4: by Laurel (new)

Laurel | 1486 comments Mod
Yeah I have this tendency to cry when things get killed - I know its like nature, circle of life and all that but it's still heartbreaking to watch!

message 5: by Lee (new)

Lee I particularly hate seeing seals being chased by sharks :0(

message 6: by Hilary (new)

Hilary | 2082 comments Until I moved here I used to feel like that but now after the rabbits and pheasants have eaten every plant I've bought and planted, and the mice have chewed through a pipe and caused a huge flood, I feel rather differently!! Just give me a gun!!

message 7: by Lee (new)

Lee Oh Hilary!

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