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Tuesday, July 25, 2017


by Samantha Pious

TheNewVerse.News construction from images found at Zimbio and Meridian Magazine.

Among the mice (I’ve heard it told)
a special Congress was convened
against the Cat, their hated foe,
to seek some implement or means
whereby they might at last live free
in safety and security
without resorting to extremes.
—Why not achieve a coup-d’état?
Together we can bell the cat!

The caucus met, the bill was law,
the congress-mice adjourned their session.
One country-mouse, from out of town,
she shoulders in to ask a question —
what’s been done? We have a weapon,
they reply, to smash that wicked feline flat.
This bell, which shall be hung from round
his neck, will sound whenever he attacks.
Together we can bell the cat!

There’s strength in numbers. One gray rat
requests to know to whom the Bell
shall be entrusted. As to that,
none of the congress-mice can tell!
The Speaker squeaks for personnel.
Not one brave mouse will go to bat
(not even for a subcontract)
though catchy slogans always sell:
Together we can bell the cat!

These words ring hollow now. Alack.
But there’s still time for one last act.
Can we protect our habitat,
Republicans and Democrats
together? We can bell the cat!

Samantha Pious is the author of A Crown of Violets (Headmistress Press, 2015), a selection of translations from the poetry of Renée Vivien. More of her translations and poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Doublespeak, Lavender Review, Mezzo Cammin, and other publications.