THE PIED PIPERS OF CLEVELAND

Rats!

They fought the dogs and killed the cats,

And bit the babies in the cradles,

And ate the cheeses out of the vats,

And licked the soup from the cooks’ own ladles,

Split open the kegs of salted sprats,

Made nests inside men’s Sunday hats,

And even spoiled the women’s chats,

By drowning their speaking

With shrieking and squeaking

In fifty different sharps and flats.

—Robert Browning, “The Pied Piper of Hamelin”

Over the past few nights, every time the Cleveland airwaves reverberated to the word HILLARY, I heard the name “Rats”. Hillary, who spawned the end of Khadafi and prepared a cradle for ISIS; Hillary and her clandestine basement e-mail server; Hillary, who dodged fake bullets in Serbia; Hillary who bestowed favors on donors to the Clinton Foundation; Hillary, who helped escalate Bill Clinton’s speaking fees; and, of course, Crooked Hillary, ……..all I heard echoing was RATS.

In the background was the music played by not one piper, but what seemed an endless parade of pipers – wrestlers, actors, senators, congressmen, lawyers, generals, and charming ladies. They kept coming. And then I realized, judging from their stature, that they were no match for the lead piper. The lead Piper stood tall on a screen with his golden mane blowing backwards in the wind, but the other pipers looked small enough to be mistaken for rats. I wondered if it was perhaps the Cleveland Rats Orchestra. In the demonic excitement of the evening it really didn’t matter.

Of course, through the passions of the evening the name Hillary no doubt signified something of a Queen of Rats. Yet, she was nowhere to be seen in the pulsating, cheering, banner-waving arena. But in the wake of the tumultuous throng of pipers marching towards Valhalla, I thought I saw thousands of rats in a beautifully choreographed march.

They marched, and they marched, and they marched, until they climbed a hill and came to the edge of a cliff. And then the rats disappeared like lemmings into the precipice below. There was a deathly silence, and then the lone Piper started to pipe again. A soothing, beguiling melody. And a new band of marchers materialized at the Piper’s feet. They waited, and they waited, and they waited, and the piper played on.

I fell asleep. When I awoke, the cliffside was deserted and empty. But for me.

Recent Posts

Upcoming Poetry Workshop

Battle River Writing Centre is delighted to offer this exciting workshop by BAYEUX ARTS Digital and Traditional Publishing.

read more

An Evening with Ayesha Chatterjee at Shelf Life Books

Join Shelf Life Books for an evening with Ayesha Chatterjee as she reads from her latest collection of poetry, Bottles and Bones. Ayesha previously published The Clarity of Distance in 2011. Born in India, Ayesha currently lives in Toronto.

read more

United in Hatred and Loathing

The French President, Françoise Hollande has described the terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday 9/13 an ‘act of war’ and called upon France to unite in the face of this tragedy. Is it possible to unite in hatred and loathing?

read more

The Theatre of Politics

Slowly but surely, some of us think that something akin to a revolution is shaping politics around the world. I can already hear scornful, skeptical laughter greeting this tentative assertion. But hear me out.

read more

A Poem on Refugees from Abhimanyu Singh

We fled our homes
Fierce fighting broke out on our streets.
Now there’s no turning back,
Bombs turn homes to rubble.

We wandered for shelter for weeks,
My wife and I, two small kids.
We couldn’t take the stench in the camps,
Squeezed by thousands, hungry.
People going to Germany.

read more

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

View Cart

Shopping Cart Image

Featured Books

Recent & Forthcoming

Older Posts