As we have known since childhood,
he must have been a politic
judicious man who took advantage
of the season, a citizen in a civil
place that celebrated his right
to harvest more peppers than
one man would need to feed himself.
Perhaps his town did not set limits
on the number of pecks he could pick,
but it probably had a policy to keep
his market safe from plundering.
In his time, whenever that was,
there may have been a council that
decided what to do if his neighbors
protested his habit of pickling peppers
before they were picked.
We cannot just reject
as scheming, cunning, lowdown nonsense.
Peter’s polity must have protected
his pickles from politics,
which makes the world go around,
often faster than we can say
Peter Piper picked a peck . . . .
Estella Lauter is an Emerita Professor from UW Oshkosh who has devoted herself increasingly to poetry in her retirement. She served as Poet Laureate of Door County in 2013-2015 and has published three chapbooks with Finishing LinePress. In 2009, she tied for first place in the Barbara Mandigo Kelly Peace Poetry Contest.