Of Mice and Men

But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane [you aren’t alone]
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft a-gley, [often go awry]
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promised joy.

Good old Robbie Burns, eh.

This extract from Robert Burns’ poem To a Mouse, 1786, tells of how, while ploughing a field, he disturbed a mouse’s nest. The resulting poem was an apology to the mouse: and it sums up the happenings of the last week nicely.

However, fear ye not.  I have a Plan B.  I have always advocated planning for the worst whilst hoping for the best and never more has this wise philosophy been proved right. The White Cuckoo is no longer going to be published by the publisher with whom I signed a contract. It has hopped happily into another tree and found another nest. I just hope the tree-dwelling mice don’t realise it’s really a cuckoo!

Anyway, I won’t bore anyone with the details. Instead I am going to skip and hop and celebrate Plan B with Monty Python and Always Look On the Bright Side of Life  My friends and family have flooded my dark days with multi-coloured spectacular fairy lights labelled ‘the bright side of life’ this week. Some of these friends I haven’t even met in person, and one of them even lives on the other side of the world. Such diversity! So I shall embellish this post with another extract from another Great British Poet, Rudyard Kipling, every word of which is so, so true (except, of course that I am not a man – well, I wasn’t the last time I looked!

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

And, with a toast to my newly-discovered friend, the genius/weirdo/eccentric/possibly-a-very-good-conman Jaques Derrida, arguably the master of the art of saying lots by not saying anything much at all, byesie bye for now.

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2 thoughts on “Of Mice and Men

  1. Hi Tony. Thank you so much for your support on my FB page, too. I haven’t got a new publisher – well, I suppose I have. My family are joining forces and calling themselves I-V-S Publishers (lol). They reckon they can do a far better job of marketing and promotion, and we will get to keep 100% of the profits, too!

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