Here among long-discarded cassocks,Damp stools, and half-split open hassocks,Here where the Vicar never looksI nibble through old service books.Lean and alone I spend my daysBehind this Church of England baize.I share my dark forgotten roomWith two oil-lamps and half a broom.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.Christmas and Easter may be feastsFor congregations and for priests,And so may Whitsun. All the same,They do not fill my meagre frame.For me the only feast at all
Is Autumn's Harvest Festival,When I can satisfy my wantWith ears of corn around the font.I climb the eagle's brazen headTo burrow through a loaf of bread.I scramble up the pulpit stairAnd gnaw the marrows hanging there.These items ere they go to waste,But how annoying when one finds
That other mice with pagan mindsCome into church my food to shareWho have no proper business there.Two field mice who have no desireTo be baptized, invade the choir.A large and most unfriendly ratComes in to see what we are at.He says he thinks there is no GodAnd yet he comes...it's rather odd.This year he stole a sheaf of wheat(It screened our special preacher's seat),And prosperous mice from fields awayCome in to hear the organ play,And under cover of its notesAte through the altar's sheaf of oats.A Low Church mouse, who thinks that IAm too papistical, and High,Yet somehow doesn't think it wrongTo munch through Harvest Evensong,While I, who starve the whole year through,Must share my food with rodents whoExcept at this time of the yearNot once inside the church appear.
Within the human world I knowSuch goings-on could not be so,What their religion tells them to.They read the Bible every dayAnd always, night and morning, pray,And just like me, the good church mouse,Worship each week in God's own house,But all the same it's strange to meHow very full the church can beWith people I don't see at allExcept at Harvest Festival.