Mrs. Malone by Eleanor Farjeon

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 mumbled 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 a 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.'