red street lights on a dark wet street
Photo by Ed Leszczynskl on Unsplash

The Real Red Riding Hood by Christian Ward

Everything you've read about me is a lie:

I detest the colour red, look away

at the sight of ketchup, traffic lights

and postboxes. I like the colour blue.

Or yellow. Yellow's good. The old woman?

I visit my Nan, who runs a B&B in Hastings,

come back stinking of the sea and vinegar.

Pets? I once befriended a fox in my garden,

fed it greenish strips of bacon studded with bluebottles.

Didn't seem to mind. But a fox isn't exactly a wolf,

is it now? And reports of footage of me on the internet?

Those costumes aren't mine. I know nothing about special

effects or make-up. I can't do impressions; have never been

to a wood. Listen, my name is Dave. I work in an office.


Christian Ward is a UK-based writer who can be recently found in Tipton Poetry Journal, Ginosko Literary Journal, Uppagus and Spillwords. Future poems will be appearing in Dreich.

Author's note

The piece came from looking at folklore and seeing how they can be subverted to create a different perspective altogether. What if things weren't always as they seemed? I wanted to bring in elements such as YouTube to show how the 21st century has challenged our preconceptions of tradition and storytelling. A simple clip can redo the oral tradition or create new stories for another generation.