The Feminist Deconstruction of Humpty Dumpty

I warned you!
and the spiders have taken heed . . .

You cared not to sit with ordinary blokes,
dangled your feet and watched all their woes.
You squirreled me away with Peter’s wife,
stuck in a pumpkin shell for life.

I am not addled nor scrambled in wits.
And so in the evenings of hey diddle diddle
your eyes on the cow and the cat and the fiddle,
I found my way out, maneuvering the vine.

I added more bricks by the light of the moon,
layer by layer, higher it grew.
Til I smiled in the window that final day,
snacking on pumpkin and watching you swoon.

You sat on your wall, looking down upon me
sneering and laughing and kicking in glee.
And then with bravado, a tip of your hat,
you leaned forward and laughed
until . . .

All the King’s horses and all the King’s men
couldn’t rewrite you together again.

The wall is demolished, Jill’s bucket is full.
I am quite proud and raucously so,
to sit on my tuffet, secure in my ways,
eating, nay feasting, on curds and whey.

Kim is hosting Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, a virtual pub for poets. Bar opens at 3 PM. We’re asked to take a character, fictional or non-fictional, and re-write their story from the point of view of their husband or wife. I’ve taken the liberty of assuming Little Miss Muffet was married to Humpty Dumpty 🙂  Photos from Childcraft, Volume One Poems of Early Childhood, copyright 1947.  I may be a tad older than my readers so these photos provide the Mother Goose rhymes alluded to in my poem.

30 thoughts on “The Feminist Deconstruction of Humpty Dumpty

  1. kanzensakura August 23, 2016 / 9:11 am

    Oh this is just superb! So full of gleeful malice and satisfaction at Dumpty’s fate. It was wonderful reading this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 23, 2016 / 9:43 am

      Whew!! Thanks MUCH!! I was worried this would be too glib — but I sure did have fun with it 😊


  2. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) August 23, 2016 / 9:23 am

    Ah.. poor Dumpty.. though I guess there is something in me that tells me had it coming… love the nursery rhyme mashup… there are those that claim Humpty Dumpty is Richard III … but I guess it could be questioned…

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 23, 2016 / 9:42 am

      Really struggled to find a subject for this prompt and kept coming back to nursery rhymes. Silly — but the mind started leaping😊. So glad you enjoyed!


  3. kim881 August 23, 2016 / 3:26 pm

    Oh my, I enjoyed your poem so much, Lillian. As soon as I saw the title I rubbed my hands with glee. Nursery rhymes give us so much to think and write about. I loved the way you included Peter’s wife in the pumpkin shell, characters I had completely forgotten. I enjoyed Miss Muffet’s revenge – I never did like Humpty very much. In the image you have included, he does sneer. In fact, it reminds me a little of Roald Dahl’s Red Riding Hood in Revolting Rhymes, who kills the wolf with a pistol and wears him as a wolfskin coat!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 23, 2016 / 8:13 pm

      So glad you enjoyed, Kim. I really had fun with it. Now that you mention it, that Dahl book is in a bag to return to my grandkids next week — they left it here over their last stay — I should take it out and read it! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. freyathewriter August 23, 2016 / 3:55 pm

    I love this so much – so very cleverly woven together! I’m sitting here in the lounge, illuminated only by my laptop screen (so bad for the eyes!) and gurgling like a drain 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 23, 2016 / 8:15 pm

      Smiling I am……even in our replies we can provide fabulous imagery (gurgling like a drain)! 🙂
      So glad I made you laugh! 🙂


  5. Glenn Buttkus August 23, 2016 / 4:52 pm

    Your nursery rhyme take on the prompt was inspired, transporting us to a gleeful place of rhyme & whimsey; a fun ride.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 24, 2016 / 7:25 am

      Thanks, Glenn. Always love to read your reply! 🙂


    • lillian August 24, 2016 / 7:26 am

      It was so fun to write. So glad you enjoyed Sanaa. I know I was successful when I get your hear and a smile face and a kudos! 🙂 MUCH appreciated!


  6. Grace August 23, 2016 / 5:39 pm

    I remember these nursery rhymes Lillian. This is a delightful mish-mash of childhood stories !

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 24, 2016 / 7:27 am

      It was fun to scan through Mother Goose and pick out the ones to use for this. Originally I was going to use Three Men in a Tub — do you remember that one? 🙂


  7. cindyreader1 August 24, 2016 / 8:02 am

    What a fun poem! I loved it! Thank you for sharing it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 24, 2016 / 8:35 am

      It was really fun to write — delving back into all those nursery rhymes and turning them on their heads! 🙂 Glad you enjoyed!


  8. sarahsouthwest August 24, 2016 / 3:03 pm

    Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant – clever and witty and gleefully funny. I loved being reminded of old friends. I guess nursery rhymes are the first poems we hear, and we carry them with us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 24, 2016 / 3:56 pm

      Your reply made my day! Thank you!😊


  9. katiemiafrederick August 25, 2016 / 12:36 am

    i must say.. the
    wife was/iS Humpty
    Dumpty’s wife and
    Osiris’ too as Isis
    now incarnate
    as such
    as Katrina
    too or iS it
    tHree by noW
    buT anyWay..
    Osiris and Humpty
    were so hard to put toGetHeR
    that noT only did Isis.. Humpty’s
    wiFe.. me.. get no help from all the
    King’s Men and Horsies.. not even
    the King’s royal court of Psychiatrists
    could budge or glue a piece ToGether
    AgaIn as iSis and i the sAMe had
    to do the
    allone as
    best as alone doES2..
    ugH..and that gOld pArt
    was so hard to fiNd aGain..;)

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 25, 2016 / 5:36 am

      ..a royal court of psychiatrists….now that would be something!

      Liked by 1 person

      • katiemiafrederick August 25, 2016 / 8:33 am

        Magicians with
        Pills.. Or Witch
        Doctors With Fears..
        It’s An unusual Field..
        Making the art of emotions
        Into science is an oxymoron
        To me without the essence
        Of that.. At least
        That is more

        Liked by 1 person

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