Little mouse, little creature,
I saw you suffering in a wide field.
Forlorn and forsaken (you appeared to me),
head low, with back arched against the formidable sky.
The weight of emptiness seeming to bear you down,
your tiny body nearly invisible beneath the world’s expanse.
Little creature, little friend,
I recognized in your pain the throes of death—
your shallow, labored breathing,
your eyes tight against the waning light—
would that I could raise you when you die,
instead, I raised you on my finger.
And finding a safer shelter for your final slumber,
I lowered you again to earth,
and tucked you in, amidst the fallen leaves.
You lifted your head as if in gratitude, or in hope?
Do not hope in me dear one,
I am just like you, powerless and small.
Little comfort could I give, but I gave,
a whispered, gentle prayer for you and me,
while stroking your soft fur to soothe you.
And saying my farewell,
with one final touch upon your brow,
I left you alone there, returning home.
I brought you with me, yet, in my mind,
the icon of your helpless body,
fated to be gobbled up by death.
This image terrorized and numbed me,
disturbed my thoughts, and stirring up despair,
made me frantic to understand and know…
Is innocence meant thus to suffer so alone?
Why can’t life beyond the grave be truly known?
When hope and faith seem so misplaced,
while staring death straight in the face,
what spark is there,
to make them kindle, and to grow?
I made myself as you, little mouse, with head hung low,
I hunched down to the earth, and prayed to God with tears.
It was the Lord who soothed my deathly fears,
and calmed my troubled, despairing mind.
It is the Comforter Who touched me on my brow,
and it is He who filled my aching heart.
Foolishly I had looked, but hadn’t seen,
the Breath of Life which enlivens you and me.
The Holy Spirit giving comfort from within,
perceived through the eyes of contrition.
Little creatures, you and I, so small and lowly,
yet through our suffering we are raised, and then made holy.
Giver of life, come and abide in us, I pray,
save our souls, as we await Your eternal day.