Some two hundred years ago
a ploughman wrote of a mouse
Behind a horse
he watched her scurry
across the fresh plowed field

Burns sat and pondered
what he’d done
turning the home site over
A tender fellow
more a poet
than a striving farmer
guilt surrounded him.

I, in turn, have seen my mouses!
When I was younger
I sent them packing!
My horse a tractor
some three hundred power
moving like a runner
no hesitation
hour after hour
opening the soil for winter

Back then the mouse had chances
slim to almost nothing
but times have changed
and so have I
In my getting older
I might even stop my steed
and take my pen
a muse a bit about him

Remembering my dad
to my chagrin
when he was my age then
would stop the tractor
let the little mouse pass
then roar on down the field

Now I do too!
Respect for life
has grown and grown
as children and grandchildren come
I learn with fascination
the systems there
in little creatures
and find their study good

I wonder at my world
where mice don’t count
but more importantly
neither do babies
if they’re not wanted
it is their fate
to be plowed away for pleasure

Over a million
go that way
each year in my home land
and more expected now
‘Inconvenient’, some do say,
so flushed away they are

Across the world in China
girl babies were set away
left to die alone
We? We criticized…
I wonder why
We cannot see ourselves.

That brings me back
to the Scottish ploughman
who pondered long and hard
and said this to us one day:

O wad some pow’r
the Giftie gie us
to see oursils
as others see us….*

Lin, Plowing on a Winter’s Day 11/08
*Robert Burns, 1759-1796