So, in the second week of Tweespeak Poetry’s book club led by Lyla Lindquist, Paul Chowder did it again. He reminded me of school. This time I paused very early on while reading Chapter 7 when these words stopped me. At first, I wasn’t sure why.
While I was gone the mouse in the kitchen found half of an old cookie and tried to pull it up into the stove’s control panel, which is where he lives. But the cookie wouldn’t fit. So he just ate it where it was. Ate and shat discreetly and had quite a little party.
I decided I would write a poem about mice for my response this week. It wasn’t until I was clicking away at my keyboard that I realized the connection to school. I read If You Give A Mouse A Cookie by Laura Nemeroff to my students every year. The little mouse in the story is Paul Chowder. He flits from idea to idea while making a mess and ends up where he started, still wanting a glass of milk.
See. Paul Chowder. No introduction to his anthology yet, but lots of adventures.
I borrowed from the two poets, Tennyson and Pope, who were lost in rhythmic chewing and swallowing and digesting at the salad bar this week with Paul Chowder. I decided that I, too, would be rhythmic leaving behind my world of free verse, just to make Paul Chowder happy and to see if I could do it.
Once again, I ask for forgiveness from the bards: Lord Alfred Tennyson for using his lovely poem, The Miller’s Daughter, and from Alexander Pope for lending me the first stanza of Eloisa and Abelard.
They All Ran After the Farmer’s Wife
Whilst I was gone a mouse my kitchen came.
The first to find a cookie half laid claim.
He pulled his prize to safety where he lives
But wouldn’t fit the stove affirmative.
He ate it there. Just ate it where it was.
A party and a shat between his paws.
The Human’s Cookie
It is the human’s cookie,
And it is baked so chewy here,
I would be the chocolate chips
That quickly disappear;
For hid in that baker’s delight
I’d nestle in each luscious bite.
And I would be the sugar
About its toothsome, candied dough
And its steam would rise to melt me,
In winter and in snow:
And I should know if it’s too hot
I’d clasp it round so close and taut.
And I would be the walnuts,
All day long to wait one nibble
Between some teeth so whetted,
With craving and a giggle:
And I would lie in quiet mime
I should be eaten in no time.
Alex to Paul
In these dark drawers and empty wooden shelves
Where heav’nly crumbs have fallen, not by elves,
And ever-nibbling merriment doth reign;
What means this bedlam near the kitchen drain?
Why rove my mitts beyond this tasty feast?
Why feels my stomach not long ago greased?
Yet, yet I crave! From Paul as it once came
And Alex yet doth find it fair game.
(Click here to read my response to last week’s chapters of Nicholson Baker’s The Anthologist: Paul Chowder, 1.)