View Full Version : Diary Of A Church Mouse

25-Sep-06, 13:18

by Sir John Betjeman

Here among the 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 Autumn 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 stair

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 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

And 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 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.


27-Sep-06, 19:18
Thank you Lavender Blue 2... That was great !
A Harvest poem with a difference.

Have you any more ?