The Mice of Bath



I holde a mouses herte nat worth a leek
That hat but oon hole for to sterte to,
And if that faille, thanne is al y-do...
(Chaucer, Wife of Bath's Prologue)

She used to call escape a "narrow squeak."
We never understood quite what she meant.
Like her, we counted cash we had not spent:
We always were worth more than an old leek.
Her great red dress rose upward like a tent,
In billows from the wind when she would dance,
And from our holes we watched as in a trance
Her warmth bent truculence to her intent.
Five follows four, while more advance,
Still more new husbands waiting in the wings:
From us she learned to understand such things.
We never leave our exits up to chance:
At least two places ready for a run,
If one way's blocked, look! there's another one.



© Kevin Berland, 1999


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