Saturday, December 5, 2009

two poems

The first thing I published after graduating from Aquinas in 2004 was the poem "The Pipes of Pan," which was printed in the The Willows magazine back in February 2007. The magazine has since gone under, and the poem is nowhere to be found online, though I do retain one of my contributor's copies.

A colleague of mine noted the (unintentional) similarity between my poem and Christopher Marlowe's poem to Sir Walter Raleigh 'The Passionate Sheperd to His Love.' He mentioned it would be fun to read an answering poem, much in the way Sir Walter answered Marlowe with, 'The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd.'

And so I wrote the poem "The Maenad's Answer." I present them both now here, free of charge, for your enjoyment. Comments are, of course, welcome:

The Pipes of Pan

By Patrick Hurley

Have you heard my pipes,
my lass,
their sweet, seductive call?

They’re chilling, shrilling, trilling,
my lass,
amongst the leaves of fall.

Have you heard them dance,
my lass,
their fey, haunting tune?

They’re cooing, hooing, blewing
my lass,
‘yond the far side of the moon.

They’re calling out for you,
my lass,
to leave both hearth and home.

Come, climb out your window,
my lass,
the night is ours to roam.

We’ll dance and sing and caper and prance,
and frolick the night away.

We’ll whisper, and kiss, and flicker, and drink,
until the dawn of day.

Then we’ll taste your sweet perfume,
naked under cloudless moon,
and when sunrise doth start to loom,

We’ll all fade away.

We’ll all fade away.

Then you shall return,
my lass,
where mother and father wait.

Naked and alone,
my lass,
left adrift by fate.

Count your lucky stars,
my lass,
to walk through father’s hall.

Next time we come a’ calling,
my lass,
you may not return at all.

For the troupe of Pan,
is a hungry troupe,
whose merry-making ne’er ends.

And though we drink and drink and drink,
on food we must depend.

This is why,
oh my fair lass,
we call on thee alone.

For, from time to time,
my lass,
Pan’s troupe needs
flesh and bone.

The Maenad’s Answer to Pan

By Patrick Hurley

Yes I’ve heard your pipes,
my lad,
sounding through my wall.

They’re fleeting, cheating, bleating,
my lad,
hardly seductive at all.

Oh, I’ve seen you dance,
my lad,
prancing like a loon.

Perching, searching, lurching,
my lad,
a hairy, drunk buffoon.

I will walk with you,
my lad,
in the woods so late.

Little do you know,
my lad,
there my sisters wait.

You’ll lie and steal and brag and boast,
idling the night away.

Whilst I pretend to smile and laugh,
thinking of how you’ll pay

Our hungry eyes shine in the gloom,
the beating drums proclaim your doom,
and rising sun will mark you tomb.

Oh how you’ll pay.

Oh how you’ll pay.

Oh you might come through,
my lad,
with naught but aching head.

Winesick and forlorn,
my lad,
wishing you were dead.

Count your stupid blessings
my lad,
to wake w’ both horns intact.

Next time you come a’calling
my lad,
you may leave on your back.

For a Maenad’s claws
are long and sharp
and hunger for taste of man.

Because we take what we can find,
we’ll settle for foolish Pan.

So you see,
oh fairy lad,
the truth of my sisterhood.

We’ll save a dance for you,
my lad,
in the end
we will have blood.

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