Posted by: Thomas Drinkard | April 5, 2014

When Magic Leaves Our Lives

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.”

                             E.B. Browning

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.

TD 4/91


  1. This is going to haunt me.

  2. No I don’t remember this…but I guarantee it’s a lot sadder now than it was in 91′.

  3. This is beautiful, and I am sure I had not seen it before. I love the way the words just fall into place and your use of slant and subtle rhyme. Thank you for sharing it. Sue Scalf

    • Thank you, Sue. Your kind comments are quite welcome.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: