This poem is unlike anything I’ve ever written—before or since. The fables we loved as children disappear when maturity hits us.
Published in Elk River Review, Fall `91
“Pan, pan is dead.”
Had I not heard the dirge’s tune,
sung upon the death of Pan,
then I could hear a lilting flute
chasing through each April breeze.
Had I not seen the funeral bier,
topped with a silent shepherd’s pipe;
flashes of dogwood white I see,
while walking in dark pines at dusk,
-skirts of a laughing wood-nymph
running to a moonlight dance.
But I felt Earth’s grinding moan,
trembling through the Grecian Isles,
and knew Olympus’ deities,
wandered in darkness as vagrants,
that night when Great Pan died.
My hand, I knew then, would never feel
the water-sleek tentative touch
of a Naiad’s brief and playful kiss,
as I dipped my arm in a haunted pool.
Sacred groves no longer stand:
storied oaks, once proud and strong,
where wood-nymphs danced and Dryads lived,
bow down their heads to the chainsaw song.