One brown mouse. (image by Flickr user: crwr)
Sub-title: “plans laid best”
Often, when meant to be on study for undergraduate exams, I found myself walking the library to track down pieces of prose. Several times, it was the work of Robert Burns kept me from what I ought ‘been doing…keen to find another hidden bit of truth.
Thy wee-bit housie, too, in ruin!
It’s silly wa’s the win’s are strewin!
An’ naething, now, to big a new ane,
O’ foggage green!
An’ bleak December’s win’s ensuin,
Baith snell an’ keen!
—excerpt of a poem by Robert Burns
So much to learn, so little time. Those were the good old days.
Your small house, too, in ruin!
Its feeble walls the winds are scattering!
And nothing now, to build a new one,
Of coarse grass green!
And bleak December’s winds coming,
Both bitter and keen!
—same excerpt,in Simple English
So, I wake with “One Brown Mouse” (a a Jethro Tull song) tappin’ in my noggin, ready to tackle an old task, one which finds its fullness. It is a note to my eldest son, started many weeks past. I open the draft, begin a review, paring down familiar themes when…
…that old tune taps me on the shoulder, and I’m off on the chase.
A moment later, punching keys to find the lyric, I learn that the title of John Steinbeck’s novella, Of Mice and Men is taken from the Burns poem, excerpted above. And still, the song keeps me tapping along. No fretting over lyrics, either, because they are there in an instant…
Puff warm breath on your tiny hands.
You wish you were a man
who every day can turn another page.
Behind your glass you sit and look
at my ever-open book:
One brown mouse sitting in a cage.
—lyrical fragment from a Jethro Tull song
…with a click of the mouse.