To a Well-Connected Mouse
(Upon reading of the genetic closeness of mice and men.)
Wee, sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie,
Braw science says that at the leastie
We share full ninety-nine per cent
O’genes, wher’er the odd ane went.
O nibblin, pink-tail’d, bright-ee’d sir,
We hail frae ane sma’ fearful blur
’Neath dinosaur feet, lang syne—
Na mair be pestie, cousin mine.
Stay oot my larder, oot my traps
An’ they’ll snap softer doon, p’rhaps,
For theft and murther blither go
When a’s i’ th’ family, bro’ an’ bro’.
— John Updike
Reprinted by permission; ©2003 John Updike.
Originally published in The New Yorker. All rights reserved.