Poetry Journal

Issues / Volume 5 Issue 1 , July 2015


Mrs Piper

Allis Hamilton

—after Pied Piper of Hamelin

  He came home with that wooden whistle 
  one blustery winter’s day. 
  Said he found it on the snow 
  at the crossroads of Hamelin and Coppenbrügge. 
  It was just lying there he said. 
  He learned to play it fast enough, 
  one could well say he was a natural. 
  But I got rather fed up with his playing here in the cave.
  It bounced off the stonewalls and I could get no work done, 
  so I sent him out. 
  The first time my husband returned after a day out with that whistle,
  it was flies that followed him.
  All a-buzz in swarms like swallows on a summer’s eve. 
  Next it was the worms slithering along behind him 
  like one enormous python. 
  He used them to catch us plenty of fish. 
  When he brought home the rats, 
  that was quite something. 
  I smoked the meat from most of them;
  we had a winter’s worth of food. 
  And I tanned their skins of course;
  they made for wonderful shoe warmers. 
  But when he brought home all those children, 
  that was something else altogether.