A Man Named Pie
Pie’s shoes had holes,
his toes stuck through,
this ragamuffin man
holding his musical pipe -
tra la la la!
Garments were multi colored -
he whirled his arms
and boasted of charms
and promised the mayor
to get rid of the rats -
and that was that.
from diseased rodents
festered and spored,
was greatly abhorred.
Pie didn’t say much
as he led all the rats
out of town to the river
where they splashed
No one felt bad,
no one was sad,
in fact, they were glad
but miserly mayor
had not a prayer
as he refused to pay
the pied piper.
The piper got even
as he led all the kids
out of town
to be seen again.
But rumor had it,
he sold them
or led them all
to drown in the river –
save me, save me!
Or maybe, worst of all
he was a pedophile
with treacherous guile
who kept the kids
for his own use.
But there’s no excuse
for not paying this man
Imagine if you can
that this is a true story -
just look skyward at
stained glass window -
memorial to children
while their spirits
flow lofty and high
and Pie lives on.
Hammer and Anvil
The road disappears into the forest,
branches meeting overhead to form
a tunnel. The birds are quiet,
the scurrying animals are resting
and still. The air does not move
in the trees, nor down the narrow
lane. It is silent but for the gurgle
of the far-off river. But there are certain
sounds that the adult ear cannot hear,
that are beyond the capabilities of our
intricate structures to observe,
or perhaps the guttural profanities
of life and labor wear away our ability
to hear such sweet and innocent music.
The sound of laughing is, after all,
a melody of church bells in comparison
to the hawking spittle of the burgermeister,
the mercantile prattle of the seller,
the honeyed slather of lovers.
He laughs, another chokes.
Leathern boots tread soft on grass,
kick up the little dust that can be
ignored as rilling wind.
A thin pipe could well be a bantam,
could be a sparrow, whose fall,
it is said, does not go unnoticed.
The road disappears, yes, and all
upon it. The forest swallows it up,
like a tongue retracted, like a
thread wound up, like something
lured and lost.
fancy rats that follow
under the spell that is his song
he shall be back for them
when the children are long gone
through the woods he's coming
under the hex that is his song
he will never stop until
the children are long gone
look, look, a bridge is there
under the curse that is his song
laughing, smiling, gentle faces
while the children go long gone
jump, jump, if you dare
under the lie that is his song
rock impaled flesh, but that's not bad
because the children are long gone
Rattenfänger von Hameln!
Play, sing a tune
O, come on everyone
You'll soon-all swoon.
Listen to me hum
A lovely song to you
That you'll ne'er forget.
Send all to doom
Or maybe not.
I've changed my ways
As long as all goes well
Listen to what I say.
I want to be a cook
Come dine with me
Bring a friend or two.
Promise not to hatch
Any evil plot
I'll even play
A happy tune.
Playing my fife
This is the life
No more strife.
The Children Follow
The children follow like sheep.
Their faithful trust is easy to win;
the ageless monster can’t help but grin.
To lure them to him without even a fight,
an ice-cream truck covered in images bright!
A promise of tasty treats dispels their fright;
his magic works before he’s even in sight.
When sweet music, he plays from within,
(no longer pan-pipes, as in Hamlin)
the children follow like sheep.
(c) 2017 - dustygrein
** Note.: The symmetrelle is a neoclassic form that can be somewhat vexing to write. Syllabic as opposed to metered, it uses just three rhymes, a (7,9,9,11,11,11,11,9,9,7) syllable-count pattern, and the first line is refrained as the last one. This makes it difficult to find the rhythm for - just the kind of challenge I like to give myself. This was a lot of fun.
The Songstress and The Piper
Once upon a time there was a musical man;
He played a magical flute that was cursed.
One day he was deceived by the mayor,
In a small town called Hamelin.
"For getting rid of the rats,
You shall be rewarded handsomely,"
Was the mayor's exact words,
But they only laughed at the musical man.
Mr. Piper, why is your heart filled with so much rage?
"Because humans always break their promises."
This cunning man will not be stopped,
For he takes his promises seriously.
One night he heard an enchanting melody
Coming from the mayor's house,
So he hides in the bushes and finds a silhouette
On the top lit window, who sings her lonely song.
Mr. Piper calls out, "Pretty lady, pretty lady,
Why do you sing with such lament?"
The silhouette figure opens her window,
And catching the piper off guard,
Her innocent face makes his heart flutter.
Her long caramel hair, soft as silk, with no tangles;
Her green glittering orbs of light
Stare right back at the piper's eyes.
She replies, "Music is my only friend, so I sing
To comfort myself. Who are you?"
Mr. Piper falls on to his knees and held out his hand.
"The Pied Piper, who shall play you music,
So you won't be so lonely every night."
With that said Mr. Piper plays his flute,
And weaves beautiful music
Fit for a beautiful princess.
Night after night, Mr. Piper comes
And plays soothing music
For the lonely canary princess
Who sings her heart out
While tears fall from her eyes.
He keeps his sacred promise to this songstress.
Mr. Piper, why is your heart filled with so much warmth?
"Because I have fallen for this singing beauty."
This sweet gentleman wants to free this lass
From her cage set in poor Hamelin.
With a hopeful heart he finds the girl's father,
Who was the mayor of Hamelin.
Mr. Piper was a better man, so he asks
For his daughter's hand in marriage
Instead of gold for his pay.
But the mayor only laughs and shuns him away.
The Piper asks again, but again the mayor laughs.
"You will never have my daughter, so take your
rat-enchanting pipe, and get out of my sight!"
The mayor continues laugh while the piper
Frowns scornfully and plans for his next performance.
Mr. Piper, why is your heart filled with so much fury?
"Because humans are nothing but greedy fools."
This cunning man will not be stopped, so he
Plans his vengeance on the children of Hamelin.
So with his pipe near his lips
Mr. Piper plays his haunting tune.
"Children, follow me, I shall take you
To a world of candy and toys."
All the children in the town follow Mr. Piper
To a place with rushing waters.
Trapped in a trance, the children
Laugh and sing as they follow that alluring music.
One by one the children jumped off a cliff,
Thinking it was a portal to that fun dream world,
But in reality it was a swirling whirl pool
That took them to their everlasting deaths.
Among them were crippled triplets with caramel hair.
One could not see, one could not hear,
And guiding them was the true cripple,
Who can barely walk and has no voice.
Mr. Piper offers his hand to them, but then
A familiar voice echoes the nightly air.
Running desperately was the songstress
As she protects her dear little siblings with dreams.
She cries, "How could you do this to us?!
How could you do this to me?!"
"A promise is a promise," answered Mr. Piper.
"I'm saving these children and
Putting them out of their misery!"
The songstress falls on to her knees,
Embraced her siblings close to her heart,
And then sings one final time.
Mr. Piper suddenly froze.
"You shall live a thousand years,
In a body of stone, as cold as your heart,
And watch humanity's greed."
That was the songstress's curse
As she sings with tears in her eyes.
Mr. Piper, you're now nothing more
Then a shell of your former self
As you watch the songstress fall to her death
In a whirl pool of your mistakes.
Her siblings shout, you shout,
But the canary princess smiles before she dies.
Mr. Piper swears, "Curse you, songstress!
I'll find you again in another life!"
Promised the piper while stone shuts him up.
He keeps his cursed promise to this songstress.
So the piper watches over the town of Hamelin
Slowly changing yet never changing
While the three siblings tell his story.
A legend you once were, a legend you will stay.
. . . . .
A thousand years pass and now Mr. Piper is free.
Nobody in town recognize him, and he wanted to die,
But then he met a young man with caramel hair
And glittering green orbs of light.
He smiles innocently, reminding Mr. Piper,
Of the songstress and her beauty.
He still loved his songstress, but hated her cruelty.
"Will you play for me?" asked the young man.
Mr. Piper knew this was another cruel twist of fate,
But regardless of what form she takes,
Mr. Piper knew this was his songstress reborn.
So he plays his magical flute one more time . . .
His pipe breaks and so does his mind.