Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The Butterfly Hours Memoir Project: MOUSE (poem)

For 2019 I'm running a year-long series on my blog in which I share my responses to the writing assignment prompts found in THE BUTTERLY HOURS by Patty Dann.

I welcome you to join me, if you like! I've divided the prompts by month, and the plan is to respond to 3 (or so) a week. For some of these I may write poems, for others prose. The important thing is to mine my memory. Who knows where this exploration will lead?

For links to the prompts I've written on so far this year, please click on The Butterfly Hours tab above. 

This month's prompts include: mail, moon, mouse, moving, museum, music, music lesson, name, necklace, neighbor, nightgown.


My first thought when I hear the word “mouse” is THE Mouse, as in Mickey Mouse of Walt Disney fame. Disney has been a big part of my life – not Mickey so much as the mice dressing Cinderella and THE RESCUERS. Other mice of my life: STUART LITTLE, MRS. FRISBY AND THE RATS OF NIMH, THE CRICKET IN TIMES SQUARE, THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX. As a college student I earned a Mouster's Degree (by far my favorite degree!) at Walt Disney World in Orlando.

Real-life mice experiences are few – most recently, using a mouse box to catch and release a family of mice that had made a home of our kitchen cabinets; feeding frozen mice to our son's pet snake; our young son Daniel being horrified by all the mouse droppings in the boat we kept in the basement; being on a poetry retreat, and first trying to catch mice (using a pillow case) from a friend's room, and then offering the friend refuge in my room when the mice kept coming.

When I mentioned this prompt yesterday to my mom, she asked me if I remembered this: when we went overseas, my mom packed shoes in boxes for us to grow into. When the time came to get the shoes out, when she opened the boxes she found a mouse nest (complete with teeny mice babies) in one of the shoes!

Here's a poem:

Give Me a Mouse Story

If you've ever watched a mouse
put on a blouse
you know how tiny
sleeves can be

and how the seams
once so sweet and even
can snag,
when caught on thorn,
nail or teeth.

You can't resist a smile
and a warm flush of tenderness
for those the world calls “pest”

if you've ever watched a mouse
put on a blouse.

- Irene Latham

1 comment:

  1. Full of whimsy and your stories are fun, Irene. Now I will think of mice putting on their clothes! I've had a few at this new house, left the door propped open a bit too long & they moved right in. Opportunists!


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