A Very Bad Poem to a Very Good Mouse
by Ray Jones
A friend I know, winnowing down his stuff,
Before he moves to some place far remote,
Gave to me some cast-off fluff,
Some junk he didn't wish to tote.
Amongst the books and Star Wars glasses
A cardboard box I met --
All filled with heavy rattling masses,
The remains of an old mecchano set.
I tipped it over and spilled across the table
Metal plates, plus girders short and tall,
Bolts, rods, gears and coils of cable,
Mixed with wires and motors small.
Now the night was late and I was pooped
To help my friend to pack and carry;
So soon my head all heavy drooped,
And soon my snores grew scary.
Somewhere there, 'neath midnight's darkest drape,
My dreams began to roll,
And I thought I saw a little shape
Amongst the metal start to stroll.
I thought -- I thought -- but no! It couldn't be!
That little form in purple clad
With swaying hips and tail a'bobbing free
And yellow mane like jeweler's gold run mad!
She stopped and stooped, the junk to see
And lifted plate or wheel,
Then stared straight up at me,
Imploringly, for parts to let her steal!
"By all the shapes and shades of dreams!" I cried,
"Take whate'er you like!"
She winked one big blue eye and sighed
A sigh that all my soul with joy did strike!
Now she set to work with speed,
Her pretty nose here, her lovely hand there
In quest of her next need,
Wagging her tail in the air.
Wheels and axles fell in place
Beneath the girder span that held the frame
Where the motor found its space
And where the batt'ry came.
Gears and bands, transmission made,
Some cardboard for the seat;
Cables for her steering wheel she laid
And pedals for her feet.
All too soon the truck was fashioned;
With craft and cunning skill she did the chore,
When then again up at me she looked, impassioned,
A silent plea to place her work upon the floor.
I set down her truck and when I straightened up,
She scampered on my sleeve and shoulder
My cheek in her tiny hand to cup
And grin at me, much bolder.
And at that soft touch, something broke
Within my hard old heart
And hot, salt tears awoke
Down my hard old cheeks to start.
For in those big blue eyes were all of gentleness
And all of childhood dreams,
Joy, compassion, kindness,
And harmless, impish schemes.
Summer days were there, and autumn's windy sighs
With love's first pain that made us fools
And such wisdom as old Solomon, likewise,
Would bow to hold her tools.
Now down my arm and leg she twitches
To her truck upon the floor.
She pushed some switches,
The motor buzzed, and rolled towards the door.
Before she vanished from my sight,
She turned and waved at me!
And all my soul she set alight
To think such loveliness, these days, could be.
When I awoke, from slumber now aborted,
My thought, of course, was to look for any missing piece.
But I hadn't counted, cataloged or sorted
So any hopes of proof must cease.
But now when I sleep at night
I keep beside my bed, where golden lamplight streams,
A box of plastic parts, and of metal bright
That might, perhaps, please the Gadget of my dreams!