© 2015, Barbara Grace Lake

I heard a piping in the wood –
Haunting, calling me
To follow if I dare.
I heard it in the dawn
As misty sunlight gently touches
Tips of trees on first arousal
Verdant leaves are freshest
Mounds of grassy thickets
Crunch beneath my feet
From laden dew.

Was it a melody I heard?
Or did my ears transform
The play of rushing wind
Through forest harps
Into a psychic sense of sound?
There, again, elusive,
Drifting music almost heard
Above a dancing springlet
Leaping briefly, sparkling
In a shaft of stabbing sun.

There, half seen beyond the trees
Disguised by gloom and mist,
A presence in the mossy coolness
Of a hidden forest alcove,
An impression of a shadowed form –
Tricks of patterned light and solitude
Upon an urban sense
Unguarded and disarmed?
Or bounding figure, demigod,
Seductive, beckoning?

I followed only to the glade
Emptied of all sense and sound
But that bewitching flute.
Inhibited, afraid of life and love,
The siren pipes insistently
Awakened rhythmic chords.
The man/beast dances, arms caress,
His music quickens, throbs
With every pulsing beat
Responding, yielding, ohhh –

And he was gone.
The silence palpable, pulled down the night.
I cried in lonely grief
Not knowing if I cried
For loss of innocence.
And in the day’s new warmth
I stumbled from the woods
Into the arms of future love.
I simply told a worried face
“I lost my way.”

I’ve often felt his presence
Though his fluting calls me not.
Now are my children grown
And theirs are of an age to question,
Hesitate, take fearful, longing steps.
Beware the pipes of Pan
For on that pathway deep within the wood,
So perilously strange,
The bud may open to return
Unharmed – but not unchanged.