Of Mice and Men


Hi everybody, da harv here. The movie was called: Of Mice and Men. It was originally written as a novella by John Steinbeck, in the very early 1900’s, and he also did a three act play adaptation, approximate date of that was 1937. Three films and or TV versions have since been adapted as well.

Well, da harv saw the movie starring Burgess Meredith, Lon Chaney Jr, and Betty Field. I believe it was 1941, at the time, I really wasn’t totally cognizant of how emotionally down trodden our people had become. Our country was engulfed with World War II.

  There have been many derivations of what writers through bygone years believed to be the origin steering the John Steinbeck interpretation, and thoughts about the origin and true meaning of “Mice and Men” he intended.


Well here’s a note: In November of 1785, the Scottish poet Robert Burns penned the poem: “To a Mouse”. In his own way Robert Burns, the farmer, wrote to the mouse offering his own take on what life is really all about. In plowing up where the mouse had made his home, Burns was pointing out the mouse should not have been there. It was affecting him as the man who can’t foresee his own future. It was ergo a story, in poetic forms depicting “Of Mice and Men”. The last three paragraphs of his poem tells in finalization of what we all must live with. Both “farmer and mouse”. It was entitled: “To a Mouse”.

I’m truly sorry Man’s domination, his 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-nortal!

I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve;

What then? Poor beastie, thou maun live!

A daimen-icker in a thrave

a sma’ request, don’t ya think?

I’ll get a blessin wi’the lave,

An never miss it!

Thy wee-housie, too, in ruin!

It’s silly wa’s the win’s are strewin!

An naething, now,to dig a big a new ane,

O’foggage green!

Ok I should tell you that was a lot of Scottish in there and here’s a note for you: In my humble opinion, It’s well worth it to get your hands on the true English translation of the poem, especially if you’re an educator of any of our younger of today’s students. Fact was, Burns the farmer in him was coming out. He felt damn sorry about disturbing where this field mouse had chosen to establish his home site. But in any event if it be your case at hand… da harv dug it up for -ye.


“To a Mouse” (standard English translation) by Robert Burns himself way back in 1785.


Small, crafty, cowering, timorous little beast,

O, what a panic is in your little breast!

You need not start away so hasty

With argumentative chatter!

I would be loath to run and chase you,

With murdering plough-staff.

I’m truly sorry man’s dominion

Has broken Nature’s social union,

And justifies that all ill opinion

Which makes you startle

At me, your poor, earth born companion

And fellow mortal!

I doubt not, sometimes, but you may steal;

What then? Poor little beast, you must live!

An odd ear in twenty-four sheaves

Is a small request;

I will get a blessing with what is left,

And never miss it.

Your small house, too, in ruin!

Its feeble walls the winds are scattering!

And nothing now, to build a new one,

Of coarse grass green!

And bleak December’s winds coming,

Both bitter and keen!

You saw the fields laid bare and wasted,

And weary winter coming fast,

And cozy here, beneath the blast,

You thought to dwell,

Till crash! the cruel plough passed

And through your cell.

That small bit heap of leaves and stubble,

Has cost you many a weary nibble!

Now you are turned out, for all your trouble,

Without house or holding,

To endure the winter’s sleety dribble,

And hoar-frost cold.

But little Mouse, you are not alone,

In proving foresight may be vain:

The best laid schemes of mice and men

Go often awry,

And leave us nothing but grief and pain,

For promised joy!

Still you are blessed, compared with me!

The present only touches you:

But oh! I backward cast my eye,

On prospects dreary!

And forward, though I cannot see,

I guess and fear

And to you my larger beast, and beasties

From da harv again


And often times today

Wondering about those

Who live in canvas and sheets

Under our bridges

Around forest lakes

Doors of buildings

Sidewalk street décor

Flattened corrugated boxes

Discarded pills and needles

And worst of all

If your wish is to call it that

Are the children from schools scurrying by

Afraid the dereliction

May come to those who pass

This unwanted roost

Somehow beckoning the past

They’ve replaced a poets joy

Dreamless without life

They are there for us to see

But comprehension

May never, ever will we understand

How it was created

For Mice and Men.


And now we go “On With The Show”


It took many years before I was able to figure it out. It doesn’t matter who you are, or more exacting, what you’re able to figure out about life. What Mr. John Steinbeck so aptly put it into words forever exists today, and perhaps forever it will be so: “You can spend a lifetime planning your asses off, all to no avail.” Or you may be part of the group who manage not to become part and parcel of what Mr. Burns and Mr. Steinbeck uncovered.


Well it seemed like it was yesterday, sixteen years ago, when the two of us stood there overlooking an old house with a guest house, and at one point two seven acres, that would soon fulfill my lifelong dream (I thought). And our hearts beating to our own personal John Phillip Sousa march, BEHOLD OUR PLAN TO BE! (We thought). Well, we were about to uncover the mouse. Perhaps before any large earth moving tractor operator inadvertently, put an end to what we so merrily inherited. Well, truth be told, all Cathy and da harv thought of was the unbridled “Great Expectations”. Making our driving force a life’s dream come to fruition! If John Steinbeck was up on our hilltop properly watching what the two of us was attempting to accomplish, he may have written a sequel to “Of Mice and Men”, calling it “Unable to Foresee”.

Or perhaps, and far better yet, what if we remind ourselves of the one and only original issue of “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens, published in 1860.


And after the fact, as is the case for many of us, who share what thoughts enter our brains, subconsciously labeled during an often pestering recall. Self re encountering of would have, should have, might have been. These thoughts arrive unannounced and presenting an elaborate design of how one’s life’s picture might otherwise could have taken shape: The mouse chose the wrong neighborhood to live in. The farmer felt badly about having to evict the mouse. Both began having “Great Expectations”.

See you later.

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