Little Miss Muffet: A Poem

This flower represents the hope and possibility I felt for the kids I worked with and wrote about despite the problems in their lives.
This flower represents the hope and possibility I felt for the kids I worked with and wrote about despite the problems in their lives.

Original Nursery Rhymes

Little Miss Muffet


Little Miss Muffet

A sweet little girl

Bright eyes and blonde curls

Who was rapidly led astray


The grasp on her innocence

Quickly faded in the presence

Of the nighttime monster

Called Father by Day


Little Miss Muffet

Sat on a tuffet

A lonely girl all on her own

The frightened daughter

Of the lover

Of the woman she called Mother

She didn’t understand how the other

Kids could want to go home


Little Miss Muffet

Sat on a tuffet

Eating her curds and whey

Swallowing the memories which

Haunted her

And fighting off those who

Taunted her

For the differences in her that she herself

Could not explain


Little Miss Muffet

Sat on a tuffet

Eating her curds and whey

Along came a spider

Eight legs of a monster

Gaping at her in the alley

Shaping her personality

Raping her body

It was four boys from school

Taking their turns with her


Little Miss Muffet

Sat on a tuffet

Eating her curds and whey

Along came a spider

Who sat down beside her

And slipped himself inside her

She allowed it; she thought it was what she deserved

No sense of self had been preserved

She was sure it was a life sentence she served

And so she slit her wrists on her own soft curves

And went to where no one could find her


Little Miss Muffet

Sat on a tuffet

Eating her curds and whey

Along came a spider

Who sat down beside her

And frightened Miss Muffet away


About the Poem


This poem is part of a series of poems that I am working on. In each poem, I take the words of a well-known nursery rhyme and incorporate them into a new poem. By adding my own words, I change the original meaning of the nursery rhyme, usually showing off its darker side. The format of the series is designed to show how the alterations of childhood caused by abuse change the entire meaning of childhood, just like adding new words changes the meanings of the childhood poem. In this case, I repeated the lines of the original piece over and over, adding one line each time, showing how the repetition of abuse over the years causes a cascading effect.

The poems in the series, including this one, are all memories I have of children and teens that I worked with when I was working in group homes, Child Protective Services and the foster care system. I saw many ugly things during those years and I needed an outlet to get those things out into the world (and out of my own mind). Working through the memories and feelings through structured poetry was helpful for me and I hope has resulted in a body of work that others can find to be both heartfelt and meaningful.

In writing these poems, I was typically thinking of one specific child per poem although some are an amalgamation of many kids I saw. I didn’t want to include any identifying features in the interest of keeping the privacy of the individuals that are written about. And I sometimes took poetic liberties. Nevertheless, I tried hard to convey a distinct image of the child about whom the poem is written, not only what they were like on the outside but more importantly what they allowed me to see of who they were on the inside and how their abuse was affecting them at that time.

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Comments 8 comments

Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 4 years ago

Dear Kathryn ~ Totally unexpected, but appropriate for the work you are doing. A good follow after Halloween with the spider theme. Many of these young abused and raped girls, now grown women or maybe teens, who contemplate suicide and have low self esteem could be helped with counseling, much nurturing support, and also the energy medicine of homeopathy. I wrote one hub on the energy of the scorpion, which you may enjoy. I wish you well with this project. Debby


robie2 profile image

robie2 4 years ago from Central New Jersey

Absolutely brilliant, on so many levels. The juxtaposition of the poem with childhood abuse takes the reader to a dark emotional place with the seemingly innocent rhymes of childhood, which of course, mirrors the reality of child abuse. Top notch and I look forward to the rest of the series. voted up up up


masmasika 4 years ago

This is an amazing work. I thought it was just a poem but it turned out to be a story with much hidden content. Great job and voted up.


Kulsum Mehmood profile image

Kulsum Mehmood 4 years ago from Nagpur, India

Enjoyed the poem.


carcro profile image

carcro 4 years ago from Winnipeg

Really well done, amazing how poetry can turn something so innocent into something so morbid. Scary stuff!


LeaghJanell profile image

LeaghJanell 4 years ago from Fairfield, Iowa

Innocence murdered...I was really affected by these poems. It is important to shine a light in the darkness that has been denied. I hope the right people read them.


variousreads profile image

variousreads 3 years ago from USA

I could night stop reading your work, it is full of talent, its very deep.. the way you twisted through the lines was very clever, reader will not just speak the words you have aloud us to see them.. Bravo


miss muffet 3 years ago

i love this poem

Little Miss Muffet

Sat on a tuffet

Eating her curds and whey

Along came a spider

Who sat down beside her

And frightened Miss Muffet away

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