Three Blind Mice, by Diana Devlin

A toad once said to three blind mice,
would you like to come to supper?
Thank you, toad, that would be nice
but can we bring our brother?
You’ve got a brother? said the toad
but that’s not in the rhyme!
He’s there to guide us down the road,
he’s with us all the time!
Very well, the toad replied,
you can bring your brother with you;
the more the merrier, he sighed,
it’s really not an issue.
And so they dined by candlelight,
the five of them together;
it was a truly lovely sight,
and they all enjoyed their blether*.
We’re lucky you’re so kind to us,
the mice said to their host.
Why, thank you said the slimy toad
but I’m not one to boast.
The night’s still young so come with me,
he said in tones triumphant.
I’ve got a cure to make you see
and platters full of cheese abundant!
The mice could not believe their ears
and went into his study
but the fourth mouse, he was full of fears
because the carpet was all bloody.
Once in, the mice could not escape,
the toad had locked the study door.
He tied their brother up with tape
then nailed him to the floor.
I’ve got your treat, he grinned at last,
you won’t have long to wait.
The fourth mouse squeaked, “Get out and fast!”
but alas it was too late.
The toad cried, You are now my dinner!
It’s you I’ve wanted all along.
You’re number’s up and I’m the winner.
Don’t you hear the dinner gong?
The three blind mice stood terrified
as toad picked up a paperweight,
his evil features magnified
in the blood red fire light.
He brought the object crashing down
upon the mouse’s little head.
The crack resounded right through town
and the seeing mouse lay dead.
You horrid toad! the mice all cried,
your evil plan will fail!
You can run but you can’t hide,
you’ll go to prison without bail!

Now in a children’s rhyming story
the toad would be undone.
But life is sadly much more gory
(some say that that’s more fun).
And so the three mice died that night
and the toad enjoyed his feast.
The moon shone brightly on the sight
of a toad and four mice, deceased.

*blether is a Scots word meaning chat

Diana Devlin is a 54 year old ex-teacher/translator/lexicographer from Fife in Scotland. She has always loved reading and writing poetry and has had a little work published online and in print. She enjoys life in Dumbarton with her husband, daughters, Jack Russell and two bossy cats.


Robert Burns on finding his wife standing on a chair, crying by Lesley Quayle

Whit’s up wi ye wumman, whit’s yer despair
an whit’s causing the tears an the snotters?
Ah come in and ah find ye up oan a chair
bubblin louder than thon Afton Waters.
Whit’s that ye say – a wee moose oan the flair
gie’d ye the fright uv yer life,
fer goodness sake lassie, did ye ever compare
the size of the beastie and the size of the wife?
Yer sayin that ah huv tae search the whole place,
but the beastie cud be onywhere,
och, staup aw yer greetin an straighten yer face
ye canny bide there oan a chair.
How’m ah sposed tae find it? Ah’ll no tell ye again,
staup yer girnin an get doon frae there,
can ye no see this stramash is scarin the wain,
that’s enough noo, get doon frae the chair.

Says she – “Rabbie Burns ye can go bile yer heid
For ah’m no comin doon till the bluddy thing’s deid.”

(first published on Stanza’s poetry map of Scotland)

Lesley Quayle is a widely published poet and a folk/blues singer currently living in deepest, darkest rural Dorset.


The One That Got Away by Sarah J Bryson

We had a mouse in our kitchen. The cat brought it in;
a small soft toy with a squeak to make the cat’s tail switch.
But when the mouse had lost interest in being batted about
or tossed in the air- it escaped to the safety of the dark

right under the kitchen cupboards. It scrabbled around
and found – underneath the built-in dishwasher –
a home, safe from cats and inaccessible to humans.
A comfortable existence, most of the time.

Even a hot wash in the dishwasher above did not evict him.
Believe me, Mum tried it.

Sometimes a snout could be seen checking out the scene.
Then if no cat about, the mouse would leave the under cupboard dark
and nip across the floor, under the door – to the utility and the cat’s bowl.
One lump of ‘Whiskas’ was a good sized meal for our little guest.

Every now and then the cat would suspect and inspect.
He’d sniff around gingerly then, tail upright, he’d walk off in a huff.
But at night the mouse would explore, leaving small calling cards,
far more than you would expect from one small mouse.

We had a mouse in our kitchen. But it had to go.
Mum said. She’d had enough.

We returned from the shop with a trap and a jar of peanut butter.
The trap was ‘environmentally kind’ – designed to catch and nourish,
so the mouse could be released (far away) and flourish.
Night after night the cat’s bowl would be raided

the cardboard blockade for the gap under-the-door, left in in tatters.
Peanut butter untouched. This mouse preferred ‘Whiskas’.

The mouse had outstayed its welcome. Two new traps were set
(‘infallible’ it said on the box). The under-door gap was sealed
with extra strength tape, heavy duty cardboard, and military precision.
We went to bed with our fingers crossed.

We had a mouse in our kitchen.
But the one that got away did not get away again.
We found him in the morning: snapped,
stiff and cold, his nose poked in peanut butter.

Sarah J Bryson is a poet and hospice nurse. She runs occasional poetry workshops, and more regularly she works in care homes as part of a project taking poetry into residential care. Her poetry has been placed in competitions and published in anthologies, in journals and on line.