MOUSE

I met a mouse the other night.
I was alone, as I generally am,
Typing by lamplight.
Clattering self-advancing words
And post-Millennial thoughts

For early hours. Love on the street,
Borne with a fluorescent tinge:
Love in a tin, anodyne for all things,
Had ceased to flog its wares
From the radios of final cars.

Suddenly, there you were;
Perched, with an acrobat’s heady grace
On top of a wire basket
With frightened eyes – shot coal
Polished and made furtive.
Made timeless. I might have been Robbie Burns
Or John Clare, kicking his heels at lapwings
From the long grass, and poppies
Like fatted stars.

I thought, “Well, mouse, we’re both in Solitary,
Aren’t we?” You were breathing and growing,
On the quiet, out of tattered scraps I’d left.

We stared each other out.
I was the one to lower his gaze
And, like a lance hurled outside my shadows, you had gone.
Little miracle, the quick made from the
Dust: that’s all you know,
How to take flight.

You little thing,
Why were you born?
What is the point of being alive
If each risen sun
Brings only the quest for food,
The need to survive?

June 2001

Stephen Jackson

MOUSE

Stephen Jackson

London, United Kingdom

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