Monday, August 2, 2010

The Wolf's Postcript to 'Little Red Riding Hood'


by Agha Shahid Ali



First, grant me my sense of history:
I did it for posterity,
for kindergarten teachers
and a clear moral:
Little girls shouldn't wander off
in search of strange flowers,
and they mustn't speak to strangers.

And then grant me my generous sense of plot:
Couldn't I have gobbled her up
right there in the jungle?
Why did I ask her where her grandma lived?
As if I, a forest-dweller,
didn't know of the cottage
under the three oak trees
and the old woman lived there
all alone?
As if I couldn't have swallowed her years before?

And you may call me the Big Bad Wolf,
now my only reputation.
But I was no child-molester
though you'll agree she was pretty.

And the huntsman:
Was I sleeping while he snipped
my thick black fur
and filled me with garbage and stones?
I ran with that weight and fell down,
simply so children could laugh
at the noise of the stones
cutting through my belly,
at the garbage spilling out
with a perfect sense of timing,
just when the tale
should have come to an end.

please note: art by Richard Hermann Eschke


Can't read that without this...:>)

6 comments:

  1. Ah, the things they don't tell us when we're little...

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  2. Roald Dahl wrote a poem about Ms. Riding Hood who happened to carry a pistol in her knickers. She gave up the silly red cloak and hat in favor of a furry wolfskin coat. A later poem with the same young heroine who is called out when three little pigs are in danger culminates with her aquisition of a pigskin attache case.

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  3. Oh, so dark, but yet, it lightened my day and gave me a different perspective to consider.

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  4. Loved this; reminded me of a children's book called "The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs as told by A. Wolf". I used to use it as a writing exercise for my 6th grade students too. So cute.

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  5. Must get another song to bounce around in my brain today..woke up hearing this one:>)Once was enough!!

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  6. Hello, I clicked over from Gail's blog (On the Farm) and I love your blog! The two poems were wonderful and this is hysterical. I had never seen that video and oh my. The song brings back memories.

    Nice to meet you! that rebel, Olivia

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Hey, thanks for your thoughts and your time:>)