Friday, May 09, 2008

Poetry Friday - 10


I'm beginning to wonder if my Fridays are jinxed ! I got paid today although it appears that my boss still didn't sort out the screw up of my wages from two weeks ago (waiting for my pay slip to arrive so I can cross check it with my pay claims and find out for sure). But since I had money - and an unexpected afternoon off (after working flat out all last weekend, despite it being a public holiday weekend), I went out to do some errands earlier, and I managed to twist my ankle on one of our dodgy local pavements. Trouble was, I didn't just twist my ankle, I lost my balance as well...

So now I have one bruised and swollen left knee, one bruised and swollen left wrist, and one bruised and swollen right arm from inside wrist to outer elbow...

Oh AND a sore right ankle.

The only thing I didn't HIT was my head - and that's probably only because everything else had already come into contact with the ground or the nearby bench (that my right arm hit) before my head could get there !

And of course, my dignity is bruised, but at least no one can see THAT !!

I was picked up by two lovely chaps who were sitting outside the cafe opposite which I took my tumble and one, the cafe owner, fetched me a large cup of cold water after checking I hadn't hit my head and didn't need an ambulance.

Life - why do you hate me so much?

Anyway, I've been meaning to share this poem by John Betjeman for a few weeks now, so here it is without further ado:

Diary of a Church Mouse

Here among long-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's 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
Ate 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 the 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.

This week's poetry round-up is over at Writer2be.


sheila said...

Hi Michele!

Sorry about the odd experiences you've been having. Get yourself some arnica for that ankle. And a bottle a scotch. And some good past episodes of DW. I'll be thinking of you.

Michele said...

Thanks Sheila...

I'm actually writing a DW story for a friend's birthday tomorrow as a way of soothing myself.

(Don't like Scotch, so I'll give that a miss, but I did just munch some Jaffa cakes ! :D )

I've applied ice to the bruises at the behest of my friendly neighbourhood Pharmacist (I'd gone in to pick up my asthma medication and he saw the bruises on my right arm and darn near freaked 'cos they were so huge and already black !)

Unknown said...

Wow, I have a blog doppleganger! Hi, other Sheila!

Michele, I'm so sorry about your day. Sounds really rough. I hope your bruises (and your dignity) heal quickly. I loved the poem!

Unknown said...

I checked out your profile and your blog, other Sheila, and I see that you are homeschoolers - so are we! This is getting eerie!

Anonymous said...

Oh Michele! I'm so terribly sorry about your tumble. I hope you're not feeling too horrible tomorrow.

I only just read this poem in a collection somewhere else in the past week or two, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was extremely happy to see it here, too!

Michele said...

The bruises are now spectacular angry red and black lumps - quite the most spectacular bruises I've ever had. My knee is stiff and sore, but that's to be expected. My dignity is shredded but invisible so I'll live !

Glad you all enjoyed the poem...

Mary Lee said...

That church mouse has a keen eye for human behavior.

Here's hoping your bruises turn green and yellow and disappear by NEXT Friday when you report to us that your pay has been reinstated (with bonus compensation for the errors) and that the universe has treated you with kindness and consideration seeing as you've more than paid your dues. (Hear that, universe? YOU OWE HER BIG TIME!!!)

Michele said...

Oh I wish, Mary Lee !!

I won't hold my breath though... For one thing, they won't pay before May 23 as I get paid fortnightly - and I've no idea how long it'll take to sort out...

But, yes, the mouse is very observant !

jama said...

Love this poem; have a special fondness for Betjeman because of his famous teddy bear.

So sorry to hear about your spill. Hope you're not TOO uncomfortable today.

Lucky you, to live in Oxford!

Michele said...

Jama I've long been fond of Betjeman for many reasons (the teddy bear included !)...

I'm not too uncomfortable thanks - just awed by how spectacular the bruises are 24 hours later !

Lee said...

Hi Michele, what a horrid day! I haven't been checking blogs much lately, but then when I do, why does it have to be such bad news?

Take care.

Michele said...

I'll do my best Lee, thanks...

Unknown said...

Yes! What Mary Lee said! Here's hoping for better news next week. (or at least on May 23). I'm sorry to hear about your bruises. Sounds painful.

Mai said...

I'm so sorry to hear you had such a rough day. I agree with Shelia about the arnica gel. That stuff is amazing. I'm a huge skeptic about that sort of thing - but it really does help.

Michele said...

I found some arnica cream in my drawer and applied that on Friday evening before bed. Which did a good job...