Claude’s hoard

Down on the farm, there are two kinds of mouse.
One is the smart sort that lives in a house;
The other, though rougher, tougher and poor
Lives only and always outside the front door.
The field mice can play out all day in the hay.
‘Til one day a cat comes to chase them away.

This cat, he has claws and a spine-chilling grin
Mean, glinting eyes, and a whiskery chin.
Nowhere is safe, not barn, field, or tree.
This cat says he fancies mouse pups for his tea.
All over the farm, puss hunts down each mouse
But he would not dare try to go in the big house.

Poor Mrs Fieldmouse, no choice but to hide
She’s scared of the farmer, but must run inside.
There’s only one place to escape from the cat
With her head hanging low, she crosses the mat
With children in tow, though not poor Mr Mouse,
Killed by the cat on his way to the house.

Mama Fieldmouse, and her children galore
Set up a camp on the farm kitchen floor
Huddled in corners, sheltered by scraps,
Scrabbling for small crumbs, drinking from caps.
No time and no chance to make the place pretty
But where was the house-mouse helping committee?

The house mice all gathered in meeting that night
Addressed by their leader, Sir Archibald D’White.
“Those field mice are sure to be seen on the floor.
And that will mean traps, and poison and more!
If we let them stay, we’re all in a fix.
House mice and field mice simply don’t mix!”

Close to the dawn, when all mice were sleeping
From out of his hole, one mouse came creeping.
Claude lived alone, just him and his hoard,
And though he was lonely, he never felt bored.
Each day he found treasures, both big and small;
He carried them home, to his hole, in the wall.

He’d been to the meeting, heard what was said
Thoughts of the field mice went round in his head.
He looked at the field mice, asleep in a pile
He went to his hoard and he found a big tile.
The tile, like the kitchen, was shiny and white
Behind it, he hid the field mice from sight.

Through the big gap, under the door
One pair of pretty eyes looked, and they saw.

Next morning, no reason to send them away,
Archibald said that the field mice could stay.
He angrily told them to stay out of trouble
Then stomped back upstairs to his rooms on the double.
But the mouse pups were tired, homesick and bored
They cried themselves dry, then they sobbed, then they roared!

That evening, Sir A called a meeting again
Raising his voice, he began to complain,
“Those field mouse pups cannot be quiet.
Did you hear them today, running a riot?
If the farmer should hear them, we’re all in a fix.
House mice and field mice simply don’t mix!”

Close to the dawn, when all mice were sleeping
From out of his hole, one mouse came creeping.
From lollipop sticks and a long piece of string
He cunningly built two slides, and a swing.
He went to his hoard, to seek out some more
And pulled out some pens and paper to draw.

Through the big gap, under the door
One pair of pretty eyes looked, and they saw.

Next morning, the field mice were quiet at play
Sir A had no reason to send them away.
He looked full of thunder and said not a word.
(From his rooms shouting and stomping was heard.)
But the field mice were hungry, had nothing to eat.
Their loud tummy rumbles could be heard in the street.

That evening (you guessed it), Sir A called a meeting.
He tried to look kind as he grimaced a greeting.
“Poor field mice, so hungry,” he said, with a moan.
“We can’t feed them ourselves, we’ve got pups of our own.
If we run out of food, we’re all in a fix.
House mice, and field mice, simply don’t mix.”

Close to the dawn, when all mice were sleeping
From out of his hole, one mouse came creeping.
He looked to his hoard, and he saw it was empty
But in his food cupboard, our Claude mouse had plenty.
He fetched all the seeds, a peppermint sweet
He gave all the things a mouse likes to eat.

Through the big gap, under the door
One pair of pretty eyes looked, and they saw.

Next morning, Sir A, he looked fit to explode!
“I’ve had it!” he said. “They’ve all got to go.”
But before he could utter another cross word
From behind him a gentle voice made itself heard.
“That’s quite enough, Father; you’ve had your say
And I’m telling you now that those field mice can stay.”

“There’s plenty of room; there’s quite enough food.
You’re proud of your manners, but it’s you being rude.
There’s one mouse right here, gave all that he’s got
If we all give a little, there’ll soon be a lot.”
She looked over at Claude, who gave her a grin.
Shyly she smiled right back at him.

Sir Archibald couldn’t believe what he saw.
She’d never dared argue with Father before!
She stood up to his gaze, though she shook as she tried
‘Til Claude took her hand and stood by her side.
And so, on this scene, our little tale ends.
Claude lost his hoard but gained some new friends.

3 thoughts on “Claude’s hoard

  1. What a lovely poem – I was engrossed in it! Your Mum sent me the link and I found your Dads poem very poignant.
    Carole (St Paul’s Church)

    Like

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