Rat Riddles

(1930)

"Rat Riddles" is the first song of Ruth Crawford Seeger's cycle Three Songs, which sets the poetry of Carl Sandburg.

Rat Riddles
by Carl Sandburg


There was a gray rat looked at me with
green eyes out of a rathole.
"Hello, rat," I said,
"Is there any chance for me
to get on to the language of the rats?"
And the green eyes blinked at me,
blinked from a gray rat's rathole.
"Come again," I said,
"Slip me a couple of riddles;
there must be riddles among the rats."
And the green eyes blinked at me,
and whisper came from the grey rathole:
"Who do you think you are and why is a rat!
Where did you sleep last night and why do
you sneeze on Tuesdays?
And why is the grave of a rat no deeper
than the grave of a man?"
And the tail of a green-eyed rat
whipped and was gone at a gray rathole.


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