Dear meadow vole disappearing into the woods

This entry is part 88 of 93 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Summer 2011


Meadow Vole, Field Mouse, or Meadow Mouse (Microtus pennsylvanicus)

“…he led them up the mountain’s brow,
And shews them all the shining fields below.
They wind the hill, and thro’ the blissful meadows go.”
— Virgil, Aeneid (6.641)[16]


Dear meadow vole disappearing into the woods
in the jaws of a cat who holds her head high
and does not slink, perhaps it is unwarranted

to think of assigning you the role of gladiator
borne away in death, departing through fronds
of grass toward Elysium. But couldn’t I

imagine you an unwilling foot soldier conscripted
daily into war? Casualty fallen anew to the enemy
(as always, as in tragedy, classically mismatched:

bigger, meaner, more cosmically predatory than you),
yes it’s merely nature, neutral as red fox or mink
or short-eared owls that hunt above tufted nest or

burrow. In winter, for short-lived sustenance,
you find, hidden under snow, green parts of plants.
Our lives: mere wingspan of months in the wild;

easy sport, soft, twitching target for the gods.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

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