A Mouse Is A Mouse — Or Is It?

MOUSE 3a poem by Sandra Conner

 

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Is it mouses, or is it mice?
I’ve asked this question more than twice.
As I sit before my monitor,
I’m quite sure I am just not sure.

When two computers I must use,COMPUTER MOUSE WITH COLOR 3
All the appendages come in two’s.
I shuffle keyboards, arrange them nice,COMPUTER MOUSE WITH COLOR 2
But then I must hook up the … mice?

My only other choice is “mouses.”
My sensitive nature that arouses.
For an English teacher I’ll always be,
And “mouses” chafes and nettles me.

Surely “mice” should be allowed,
But then I start to laugh out loud.
Confound that name! How did it start?
Bill English and Doug Engelbart!

It’s all their fault; they must admit.
And foolish names are such a hit.
And dictionaries help not at all;
They make it an individual’s call.

So back again to where I was,
More frustrated now because
As I struggled to name the counterfeit,
Its namesake from my sandwich bit.

~~~

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14 thoughts on “A Mouse Is A Mouse — Or Is It?

  1. Good one! I really liked the surprise ending, too. I thought about it after your suggestion and I’m in the process of writing one, too. No telling how long it will take, though. I write some songs in a couple of hours the first day I think of them. Others I write off and on at the same time I’m working on more the same way. I may have even forgotten where the suggestion came from by the time I’m through with it. 🙂 Well, probably not.

    1. I just knew you’d write one, because it fits right into your ability to write fun things. You really should try to do some haiku on that subject. That would be a real treat. I’m not good at haiku, but you really are. Whichever you do, I’m anxious to read it.

    2. You know, it’s interesting: I really did not plan that ending at all. I didn’t have any idea where the thing was going. I just started writing. And it wasn’t until I had the first 2 lines of the last stanza written that this unexpected idea jumped into my conscious mind. It seemed like a winner to me, so I just used it.

    1. Thank you. It was fun to write. Yesterday I was talking with another poet friend, Dennis Lange, about this quandary, and I suggested he write a poem about it — because he is very good at writing fun things. Then I decided that if I were going to challenge him with that subject, I should write one too. So I did. Actually the ending took me by surprise as well. It was not until I had written the first 2 lines of the last stanza that I realized where it was going.

      A bit of serious research uncovered the sad truth that there is no final answer from any final authority on the subject. There are groups that adhere to the “mice,” answer and others who have just as good reasons for using “mouses.” Even the dictionary offers a choice. I think both sound ridiculous in this situation.

  2. A fun combination of poetry and a grammar lesson. I’ve always heard it was mice for plural, but never looked it up. This is how I feel about them: “Whether mice or mouses matters not to me, while one kind sits upon my desk, the other kind I’d rather not see. The one I’ll use to scroll and tap, the other I hope to catch in a trap.” I must say, I never thought about writing a poem about mice, and yours is the first one I’ve ever read about them. Thanks for the smile Sandra 🙂

    1. Hey, I like your poem too. See it’s catching. Actually, this question has been hanging around in my head — and in a few of my conversations — for months now. I know for sure that the plural for the rodent is “mice.” But the non-living version falls into the category — or is considered by some to fall into the category — of a “headless” noun. I won’t go into the extraordinarily boring remainder of that grammar lesson, but it will suffice to say that the plural for the inanimate type of mouse can be “mouses” as well as “mice.” The dictionaries really do leave it to the user’s discretion, which I think just adds to the confusion. And both sound wrong to me — hence my ranting at Bill English and Doug Engelbart — who created the little creature and then named it.

      The reason for the poem is that I challenged “The Bard on the Hill” — a blogging poet friend who is great with fun themes — to write a poem on the topic, and I thought it only fair that I accept the challenge myself. He’s still working on his.

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