Agha Shahid Ali

(4 February 1949 – 8 December 2001 / New Delhi / India)

The Wolf's Postcript To 'Little Red Riding Hood' - Poem 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.


Comments about The Wolf's Postcript To 'Little Red Riding Hood' by Agha Shahid Ali

  • Kim Barney (8/14/2015 9:59:00 PM)


    I read this three times, and each time I liked it better than the time before. This is amazing. I always wondered as a child when I first heard this story why the wolf didn't just eat her right away. I always thought, Man, that was one stupid wolf!
    Too bad Agha Shahid Ali is not around anymore to explain all the other fairy tales to us!
    (Report) Reply

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  • Nanthinii Mohan (8/14/2015 8:36:00 PM)


    Its true that perceptions differ quite often from people to people... The poem is an excellent example for the metamorphosis of a human mind and how many varied forms that it can take right from being sturdy serious to lukewarm fun...... Actually I now agree with your story, my story, and the actual story has a lot more to say.... (Report) Reply

  • (8/14/2015 7:18:00 AM)


    Thinking 'the other way around'- -part of the examined life. MM (Report) Reply

  • (8/14/2015 12:33:00 AM)


    ............excellent write....was nice hearing the other side of the argument ★ (Report) Reply

  • (8/14/2015 12:14:00 AM)


    It struck me...who thinks the other way round?who thinks about the next other reason for watsoevr has happened..m still wondering (Report) Reply

  • (3/7/2005 2:10:00 AM)


    interesting idea..i liked it (Report) Reply

  • Nasra Al Adawi (3/7/2005 1:46:00 AM)


    Very different poem...It really makes you think (Report) Reply

Read all 7 comments »



What do you think this poem is about?

Read poems about / on: history, woman, children, child, alone, red, teacher, women, flower, girl, running, sleep, tree



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 20, 2003



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