Sunday, July 10

Mrs Malone

I first found this poem as a child, and catching a rare sight this morning of a reclusive neighbour who gathers waifs and strays, I found myself muttering "room for one more Mrs Malone".

When I read the beautiful Derek Walcott Love after Love post from Gena at These Foolish Things I thought it might be quite nice to share a poem now and again. . .do you have a favourite?

Mrs Malone by Eleanor Farjeon

Mrs. Malone
Lived hard by a wood
All on her lonesome
As nobody should. 
With her crust on a plate
And her pot on the coal
And none but herself
To converse with, poor soul.
In a shawl and a hood 
She got sticks out-o’-door,
On a bit of old sacking
She slept on the floor,
And nobody, nobody
Asked how she fared 
Or knew how she managed,
For nobody cared.
      Why make a pother
      About an old crone?
      What for should they bother
      With Mrs. Malone?

One Monday in winter
With snow on the ground
So thick that a footstep
Fell without sound,
She heard a faint frostbitten
Peck on the pane
And went to the window
To listen again.
There sat a cock-sparrow
Bedraggled and weak,
With half-open eyelid
And ice on his beak.
She threw up the sash
And she took the bird in,
And numbled and fumbled it
Under her chin.
      'Ye’re all of a smother,
      Ye’re fair overblown!
      I’ve room fer another,'
      Said Mrs. Malone.

Come Tuesday while eating
Her dry morning slice
With the sparrow a-picking
('Ain’t company nice!')
She heard on her doorpost
A curious scratch,
And there was a cat
With its claw on the latch.
It was hungry and thirsty
And thin as a lath,
It mewed and it mowed
On the slithery path.
She threw the door open
And warmed up some pap,
And huddled and cuddled it
In her old lap.
      'There, there, little brother,
      Ye poor skin-an’-bone,
      There’s room fer another,'
      Said Mrs. Malone.

Come Wednesday while all of them
Crouched on the mat
With a crumb for the sparrow,
A sip for the cat,
There was wailing and whining
Outside in the wood,
And there sat a vixen
With six of her brood.
She was haggard and ragged
And worn to shred,
And her half-dozen babies
Were only half-fed,
But Mrs. Malone, crying
'My! ain’t they sweet!'
Happed them and lapped them
And gave them to eat.
      'You warm yerself, mother,
      Ye’re cold as a stone!
      There’s room fer another,'
      Said Mrs. Malone.

Come Thursday a donkey
Stepped in off the road
With sores on his withers
From bearing a load.
Come Friday when icicles
Pierced the white air
Down from the mountainside
Lumbered a bear.
For each she had something,
If little, to give—
'Lord knows, the poor critters
Must all of ’em live.'
She gave them her sacking,
Her hood and her shawl,
Her loaf and her teapot—
She gave them her all.
      'What with one thing and t’other
      Me fambily’s grown,
      And there’s room fer another,'
      Said Mrs. Malone.

Come Saturday evening
When time was to sup
Mrs. Malone
Had forgot to sit up.
The cat said meeow,
And the sparrow said peep,
The vixen, she’s sleeping,
The bear, let her sleep.
On the back of the donkey
They bore her away,
Through trees and up mountains
Beyond night and day,
Till come Sunday morning
They brought her in state
Through the last cloudbank
As far as the Gate.
      'Who is it,' asked Peter,
      'You have with you there?'
      And donkey and sparrow,
      Cat, vixen and bear

Exclaimed, 'Do you tell us
Up here she’s unknown?
It’s our mother, God bless us!
It’s Mrs. Malone
Whose havings were few
And whose holding was small
And whose heart was so big
It had room for us all.'
Then Mrs. Malone
Of a sudden awoke,
She rubbed her two eyeballs
And anxiously spoke:
'Where am I, to goodness,
And what do I see?
My dears, let’s turn back,
This ain’t no place fer me!'
      But Peter said, 'Mother
      Go in to the Throne.
      There’s room for another
      One, Mrs. Malone.'


Donna ~ Little Tiny Stitches said...

Oh What a wonderful poem!

Thankyou so much for sharing this Elaine, I'm going to read it to my family :o)

Have a great week. xx

Fran said...

That's a good one. I like it. She's a kind of St Francis isn't she, but 'Mrs Malone' is a much better name.

sue15cat said...

That's really lovely.

Sue xx

Rose H (UK) said...

Oh, how lovely :o)
Thank you Elaine.

Sherri B. said...

Oh my, I have tears in my eyes! So very touching, thank you so much for sharing this precious poem! xxoo

Fading Grace said...

I love Mrs Malone, thanks for sharing it. I was always rescuing things as a child, a bat, a blackbird, 2 tortoises, I think I could easily be a Mrs Malone.... if only hubby would let me! I like your idea of poetry sharing, I will try to think which to blog, there's so many I love.
Sophie x

helen tilston said...

Thank you so much for this beautiful poem. I enjoyed it very much and shall tell my friends of your blog.

A perfect post for Sunday and a wonderful message
Thanks again,

Pomona said...

I have never come across that one before - it makes me want to cry! I used to read a lot of Eleanor Farjeon when I was young.

Pomona x

Molly said...

That was so lovely. God bless Mrs Malone!

sandiart said...

That bought a tear to my eyes. It is always the poor that will 'take in one more' because they know what it is like to go without.
Thank you for sharing this.
xx Sandi

Andi's English Attic said...

Oh that's so lovely, I've never read that before. xx

Menopausalmusing said...

Another one here who hadn't come across that poem. What a lovely one it is too...........

Edward said...

Very nice poem, sad ending but nice anyway, I like to hear the odd poem every now and again, so this was a very nice post.

John Gray said...

I think we all remember poems like this one from or own childhood... a poem seems to catch a child's imagination and lingers long in the psychi!

mrsnesbitt said...

I LOVE this poem - it was one I often read when I was teaching.

Alexander Lindsay said...

It is a very touching poem , my dear mother who has passed away twenty two years ago loved this poem and had it in a small book with illustrations . In our childhood growing up in the 1950,s in Bognor mum would pull out this poem and read it to me and my brother , she would rarely get to the end without crying
I have the same copy by my bedside and get enormous comfort by reading it which brings me back to those treasured times that seem not so long ago .

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