Death of a rat

Dead Rat by Mervyn Peake

Were I a farmer I would call you vermin
Because you’d be the villain of my crops
And gnaw my wealth, but I am not a farmer,
But only one that walks the farmers’ fields,
And so when I came on your stiffen’d body
Lying alone and flowered with frost, your eyeballs
Glazed and your little front paws so beseeching
Crossed on your breast and pink like human fingers,
And when I saw your deadness in the frozen
Light of the winter morning, I, unmanly,
Unfarmerly, and most impractically
Felt that rats even have a right to live
And knew that there was beauty in your body
Dusted with starry marvels of bright frost,
And beauty in the little hands you crossed
Upon your breast before you died this morning.


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