Hilaire Belloc's Mice

Poem By Richard George

His son died in the war:
his beard grew unkempt
like the High Chamberlain's
('The kindest and the best of men')
in Cautionary Tales he wrote for children.

And as he combed the past
there surfaced, from some ocean's depths
the fear of poverty:
he slumped from company,
bread for an emergency stowed away

in his pockets. But the house mice
scuttled up his legs in joy
'That Providence should deign to find
Them food of this delicious kind':
he didn't notice, or he didn't mind.

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