Today's offering for Fairy Tale Poetry Week in honor of National Poetry Month:
What the Wolf Really Said to Little Red Riding-Hood
by Bret Harte (1836–1902)
Wondering maiden, so puzzled and fair,
Why dost thou murmur and ponder and stare?
“Why are my eyelids so open and wild?”
Only the better to see with, my child!
Only the better and clearer to view
Cheeks that are rosy and eyes that are blue.
Dost thou still wonder, and ask why these arms
Fill thy soft bosom with tender alarms,
Swaying so wickedly? Are they misplaced
Clasping or shielding some delicate waist?
Hands whose coarse sinews may fill you with fear
Only the better protect you my dear!
Little Red Riding-Hood, when in the street,
Why do I press your small hand when we meet?
Why, when you timidly offered your cheek,
Why did I sigh, and why didn’t I speak?
Why, well: you see—if the truth must appear—
I’m not your grandmother, Riding-Hood, dear!
from Argonaut Edition of the Works of Bret Harte, V. 8 (1882)
See a list of more Little Red Riding Hood poems at Modern Interpretations of Little Red Riding Hood. See the left hand column for links to full text poems.
For a list of fairy tale themed poetry collections, I have a Fairy Tale Poetry list on Amazon. There are also many poems scattered throughout the SurLaLune website...
The illustration is by Ethel Franklin Betts.