Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sleekit Beastie

Sara at Lazy Knits and Purls came up with a wonderful Ravelry group, Crafting Poetry and the Craft-A-Poem 2011 challenge. Each month, participants choose a project inspired by a poem.

Perhaps influenced by childhood memories of enforced haggis consumption (despite the fact I have not a drop of Scots blood in me) on January 25, I selected my favourite bit of Robert Burns, and knit up a wee – and very literal – representation of the poem.

To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough

Wee, sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie,
O, what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty
Wi bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Wi' murdering pattle.

I'm truly sorry man's dominion
Has broken Nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth born companion
An' fellow mortal!

Sleekit Beastie

I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen icker in a thrave
'S a sma' request;
I'll get a blessin wi' the lave,
An' never miss't.

Thy wee-bit housie, too, in ruin!
It's silly wa's the win's are strewin!
An' naething, now, to big a new ane,
O' foggage green!
An' bleak December's win's ensuin,
Baith snell an' keen!

Sleekit Beastie

Thou saw the fields laid bare an' waste,
An' weary winter comin fast,
An' cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro' thy cell.

That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble,
Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!
Now thou's turned out, for a' thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the winter's sleety dribble,
An' cranreuch cauld.

Sleekit Beastie

But Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!

Still thou are blest, compared wi' me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But och! I backward cast my e'e,
On prospects drear!
An' forward, tho' I canna see,
I guess an' fear!

Sleekit Beastie

You can find the standard English translation here.

Project Notes:

Pattern: Felted Mousie by Cailyn Meyer
Yarn: Cascade 220 in Light Grey Heather, Tutu and unidentified charcoal grey, about 15 yards total
Needles: 4.5mm/US 7 DPNs
Modifications/Comments: None. I followed the pattern to the letter. Felted lightly in the sink.

I had intended to give my sleekit beastie to my feline friends at the SPCA; however, I've fallen in love with mousie, so I'll have to knit up some more for the shelter.

Sleekit Beastie

Happy Rabbie Burns Day!


  1. I don't believe I've ever before read this poem - although I've often quoted its most famous lines! Thank you for showing us the cute little mouse and for sharing the lovely poem.

  2. I.love.it.!

    It is squee-worthy!

  3. I love the mousie and I love the poem and I love that you were made to eat haggis!

    I love haggis and my family is Scottish, so it's okay... :)

  4. Thanks for celebrating Rovin' Robin's birthday! I kind of forgot (slap me with a sporran!) so no haggis for me. And yes, I like it! My late adopted mom was Scots (though I'm not) and I actually understand nearly all the words without needing translation. Love it.

    Love the little Mousie too. So cute!