Little Red Riding Hood And The Wolf
Poem By Roald Dahl
No tabloids for him, always The Irish News,
and that, mainly for deaths at the end.
Four slow reads he managed every day;
morning, after meals and just before bed,
the close printed crossword after dinner,
saving until the last his beloved sport.
In my young head he was, still is, a sport.
Eager, or pretending, for my small news.
Had I gobbled up all of my dinner?
Who'd won that game of marbles in the end?
What time yesternight had I gone to bed;
-Man - he'd wink - that's the middle of the day.
He told me how it had been in his day.
Wearying hours of hard work and good sport
that left him crawling, falling into bed.
Local gossip, masquerading as news.
Laughing chatter at the lamplit street end
in lazy, smoky hours after dinner.
- If we had the wherewithal for dinner,
he would grumble - in our lackpenny day.
- The wonder being, we all didn't end
in the parish workhouse, poor us, eh, sport? .
Not that such commonplace would have made news
and at least we'd have had a lousy bed -.
I remember so well a low, white bed
with him sunk, shrunken, fed milky dinner,
and old men praying, whispering their news
to him of how they filled an empty day.
I read aloud to him the back page sport
although he heard not a word, at the end.
He strove to meet head-on his coming end
trying to smile off pain. Small in the bed.
His dying blew the whistle on our sport.
They told me in the lull after dinner
on an already dark November day.
Some part of me died when I got the news.
But did it really end?
Day to day I'd still tell him news as I lay in bed;
'I've missed my dinner, again. Oh. And I'm finished with sport.'