Home > Uncategorized > William Ellery Leonard: The Pied Piper

William Ellery Leonard: The Pied Piper

====

Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

American writers on peace and against war

====

William Ellery Leonard
The Pied Piper

“Never before have four hundred million rats followed the lure of the shrill pipe of the rat-catcher.” Nicolai, Biology of War

The huge Pied Piper, in a giant dance,
Began his piping on the fields of France.
The huge Pied Piper, with a fife of steel,
Danced through the nations, toe and heel.
Four crazed years, under winds and the moon,
The Millions followed in a jigging rigadoon.

For his legs were hosed in stripèd bands,
And his sleeves were stripèd to the fingering hands,
And his cape was striped to his piping throat,
And the striped cap fluttered to step and note….
Stripes up and down, and left and right…
Red, green, yellow, black, blue, white…
Speckled between with star and crest
But the red stripes O! they outnumbered the rest.
And when failed the lure of his garments pied,
He juggled new bunting from his vest inside.
So four crazed years, under winds and the moon,
The Millions followed in a jigging rigadoon.

With a fife of steel to puckered lips,
And two cheeks puffing for his finger-tips,
He shrilled each tune of the lure of war,
And danced each measure of his repertoire:
He piped and he jigged of fear and hate,
Of love of country and glory of state;
And he piped of god and he piped of man
This giant Jester, this Charlatan.
And for those who loathed his piping shrill
He piped a tune more alluring still:
“Then hurry to my piping, more than ever,
To end my piping, now or never!”
And four crazed years, under winds and the moon,
The Millions followed in a jigging rigadoon.

And the few still slack, as he flung pied cape,
And the few still slack, as he piped his jape,
O the few still slack, as each million reels,
Jigging to the river, behind his heels,
They whipped or they hanged to bar or tree,
And passed with the Piper down the lea…

To a red, red river, all the host,
And the Piper walked, like a shadow or ghost…
And the Piper walked, like Christ on the sea
In the sunset-storm of Galilee…
And he danced on the waters, to his latest tune,
And the millions perished in a jigging rigadoon.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: