The Rat Cotillion
(by Zarina Silverman)

Under the waterline everything's damp
And I hardly can see my hand before my face
With forty men sharing the light of one lamp
Oh how I wish I were out of this place

But the day's work is done and there's nowhere to go
We've finished the rum and sung our last yo ho ho
So I climb into my hammock and peer down below
To wait for the rat cotillion

The band strikes up softly in snores and in groans
The slap of the waves and the creak of the sails
While down in the gloom of blood, vomit and bones
I hear the faint stirrings of whiskers and tails

The queen of the rats is the first to arrive
Her ladies in waiting flank both of her sides
They circle the dance floor with confident strides
Make way for the rat cotillion

The king and his court follow closely behind
Soon all the guests have filled up the great hall
They're greeting each other and drinking their wine
Till finally everyone's here for the ball

The dancers gavotte, waltz and minuet
Like ladies and gentlemen high on their toes
They curtsey and bow and turn gay pirouettes
The better to show off their fabulous clothes

The young debutantes in their rustling gowns
Of velvet and satin in pink, grey and brown
They're coming in droves from all over the town
Tonight for the rat cotillion!

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