“…unladen, empty, and turned to stone.”

The rodent poised on a buttress on the south nave of the National Cathedral didn’t go where I expected—but that, I suppose, is the point.

DIE FLEDERMAUS

You say: “No mouse was meant to fly.”
I woke with wings, so why
Should I not try

To streak and swoop from roof to peak,
Refining my technique?
Perhaps next week,

You’ll dwindle as I soar aloft,
You sorry souls who scoffed,
And, landing soft

In straunge strondes, I alight
A pilgrim benedight;
But then, by night,

The leatherwings my roost surround
With prophecies profound;
Without a sound

They flap from crags and belfries cold
A bat-king to behold.
So would you scold

A faulty mouse whom Fortune spurned,
Whose rote she left unturned?
For I have learned

A larger life demands a leap.
When all the world’s asleep,
From spiry steep

I’ll wing where mice may safely twitch:
Moel Hebog will bewitch,
And Lovćen’s rich,

And Eldfell smolders, bare and bleak—
Perhaps a perfect peak
Where all who squeak

May lightly laze, like long-shed sorrow:
Fuji, Kilimanjaro
…so, tomorrow.

(For all the entries in this series, hit the “looking up” tag.)

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