Thursday, 5 May 2016

Diary of a Church Mouse A wonderful Betjeman Poem

With all this churching (visiting churches) of late I re-read the anthology of John Betjeman's church poems. A favourite is Diary of a Church Mouse which evokes much of what I have enjoyed of late, in the nooks and crannies of many a church. It inspired this drawing in pen and ink.

 . . . .Here where the Vicar never looks




Diary of a Church Mouse
Here where the Vicar never looks
I nibble through old service books.
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.
For me the only feast at all
Is Autumn's Harvest Festival.
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.
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.
A large and most unfriendly rat
Comes in to see what we are at.
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.
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.
                      -- John Betjeman.