by Leonora Speyer (1872-1956)
Hope gnawed at my heart like a hungry rat,
Ran in and out of my dreams high-walled,
I heard its scampering feet:
“Pretty rat—pretty rat—!” I called,
And crumbled it songs to eat.
Hope peeped at me from behind my dreams,
Nibbled the crumbs of my melodies,
Grew tame and sleek and fat;
Oh, but my heart knew ease
To feel the teeth of my rat!
Then came a night—and then a day—
I heard soft feet that scuttled away—
Rats leave the sinking ship, they say.