To the Residents Down Below

I am a bookish kind of rat
And like each rat before me,
I’ve come to the conclusion that
There’s few folks that adore me.
Although I feel that this is wrong,
I try to be pragmatic,
I’d like us just to get along
While we stay in your attic.

Why our roof?” We hear you cry,
But would you wish us homeless?
Its cozy warm and nice and dry
And full of fine aromas.
It’s not as if you use this space,
We don’t deserve this stigma,
We’ve yet to set eyes on your face,
You’re truly an enigma.

You never venture in the roof
To pay a friendly visit.
In fact we find you quite aloof,
Which isn’t kind now is it?
We all agree your attitude
Is clearly symptomatic,
And evidence of your bad mood
Cause we live in your attic.

We really need to get along
And learn to live together.
Forget the constant battle song
And raise the pure white feather.
Don’t shout and scream each time we crawl,
Don’t act melodramatic,
We hardly make a noise at all,
On this we are emphatic.

We’ll thank you not to make a fuss,
Please grasp our situation.
To you it’s dirty… but to us
Its fine accommodation.
Our children need a place to live,
A place that’s free from harm,
And though a trifle primitive,
Your roof works like a charm.

My family has one small request,
And no… it’s not for flowers.
We really need to get some rest,
During daylight hours.
We try to sleep… you move about,
By day you should be static,
Perhaps you could just move on out,
This would be diplomatic.

And then when nighttime shadows sweep
And all is dark and still,
You lie down and try to sleep,
Of your own free will.
Obviously, you must know
That this gets problematic,
At night we practice Tai-Kwon-Do
And coitus in your attic.

Go forth… go forth… and multiply!
Is definitely our creed,
So when our hunger you deny,
For comfort we must breed.
A little show of sympathy
Would be so very kind,
Especially since my family
Is practically blind.

You see we suffer greatly
From a lack of good nutrition,
While inappropriately
You’re like pigs without remission.
It is a situation that
We’re finding quite traumatic,
As you continue to get fat
While we starve in the attic.

It’s clear that our inherent
Dispositions do not blend,
Your species is aberrant
And your habits do offend.
We’re making no apology,
We thought you’d be ecstatic,
To have fine rodents such as we
Residing in your attic.

Perhaps you could live more like us
And rest during the day,
Completing chores at night and thus,
Things might work out okay.
And then some morsels left about,
If you would be so kind.
So we don’t have to go without,
Thanks, from the undersigned.




Norma Pain was born in Liverpool, England and now lives in Parksville, British Columbia, Canada. Thirty of Norma’s poems were published by Dana Literary Society, between 2004 and 2007 and she was twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize by that same on-line poetry site. She self-published a book of rhyme in 2000 called Bulging Assets.

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18 Responses

  1. Yael

    This is adorable and hilarious at the same time. I’m not sure I would find it quite so entertaining if I had a thousand rodents running circles around me where I’m sitting, but I’m not experiencing this particular problem in my locale, so I’m free to enjoy your poem. The quirky, mousy rhymes are too funny!

    • Norma Pain

      Thank you Yael. We have had experience with rats in a previous dwelling, and I am terrified of them. Attacking my fear with humour didn’t help. I am hyper-vigilant to any scratching noises.

  2. Paul Freeman

    Humour can be difficult to convey, but you did so with jaunty meter and perfect rhyme. If there’s such a thing as method poetry, you nailed it.

    Out vile humans, Mr Rat
    deserves a place to stay.
    So off you go (and take the cat),
    you’ve till the end of day.

    • Norma Pain

      Thank you Paul. You wrote succinctly in four lines, what took me eleven
      stanzas to say. Loved it.

  3. Jeff Eardley

    Norma, like your amazing “Magic Machine” this is yet another potential best-selling children’s story.
    You have a rare talent with words and imagery and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. From this side of the pond, thank you so much.

    • Norma Pain

      Thank you for your comments Jeff. They are very much appreciated.

  4. Norma Pain

    C.B., a mouse makes me squeal… a rat makes me scream, and a million or so of either would give me a heart attack.


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