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Spring Church Mouse 

My name is Dory and I am plain and
small.
I think of myself as a church
mouse,
darting here and there among
the pews,
so no one can get a good look
at me.
There are countless places in a
church to hide,
a decided military advantage to a creature as
defenseless as me.
(And they don't lay traps in churches, either;
my sexton is kind.)
My whiskery pink nose
twitches
at the scents of oiled wood, candle wax, upholstery,
incense, and parchment
in the sanctuary, garrisoned with mullioned
stain-glassed windows.

Nights I'm Dory mouse in my fur coat in the
chilly choir loft,
days I'm dressed up like Miss
Potter's rabbits,
munching on bread crumbs and cheese scraps
in the refectory.
(Of English ancestry in the fenlands, I
prefer Stilton).

A high-minded though poor church
mouse,
I imagine living in old cathedrals with
flying buttresses.
Sometimes they are Gothic, sometimes
Romanesque.
Most of the time I'm daydreaming of
Westminster Abbey,
where I repose in a spacious,
high-ceilinged side chapel,
majestic with miniature arches and
columns,
its floor inlaid with glistening
many-colored mosaics,
the fretwork gold-leafed and
incandescent.
Scores of brilliant candles make the
floors and statuary shimmer,
the walls and sacred furnishings are clad in
brilliant, glowing woods,
precious yew, rosewood, satinwood, walnut, oak,
mahogany, cherry.
In these august surroundings, I am now become a
royal and regal mouse,
no more homely Dory
mouse.
We plain mice have our dreams, too,
you know,
especially in springtime when the sexton lets in
the keen, cool air
that makes our whiskers quiver with excitement,
anticipation and delight.

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Paul Mann

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