A Haunting Wooded Tale
,It's like some long lost fairy tale
That's handed down through time
But couldn't be, as you will see
For this strange tale is mine.
I chose to take a country road
I do from time to time
To enjoy the crisp cool English day
Then later a choice wine.
I often wear my beaver hat
Today I did the same
A sharp wind snatched it from my head
And chase the hat became the game.
Long later, giving up the chase
When turning back I chance to see
A small, long bearded, wrinkled man
Time bent and elderly.
In a knarled hand sure as I stand
He gasped my beaver tight
Quick as you please in a clump of trees
He stepped quite out of sight.
So we were off, the old man slow
Myself quite fresh and young
At first he limped and then he skipped
And broke out in a song.
(Song) This young man who pursues me
Is quite a fiesty guy
He's swift of foot but presently
He'll find he's not so spry.
The ancient Yews engulf us
But deeper must I go
Now kicking in, my second wind
With nimble feet, that once were slow.
What song is this; I balled my fist
Confusion creased my brow.
How came he to outdistance me?
Why are my breaths so labored now?
He reached a wide and healthy stream
But took it in a single bound
A twist of fate and my last hope
That that might slow him down.
Then I myself reaching the stream
Bent down to take a sip
But froze as my reflection showed
The gray that sprang from head to lip.
Those graying hairs ran down my chin
And stopped somewhere mid-breast.
My lungs let out a awful cry
That pierced the dank dark wilderness.
'What dastard sorcerer's trick is this?
He's hexed me with a curse.'
Still on he fled more swiftly
And sang another verse.
(Song) These woods keep close a secret
That baffles time and mind.
They're generous to the very old
But to the young not quite so kind.
I stumbled on most blindly;
If not for sound of song
I would'nt know which way to go.
My hope of catching him long gone.
The worry of which way to go
Soon faded in the light
Of what appeared to be a town.
'Street lights'? That can't be right.
And so beneath one light I spied
(My aging vision fading fast)
A nmph with finger tips of gold
Perched just above an hour glass.
The hour glass stood most 12 feet
And as the nmph began to sway
She sang a sad and mournful song;
Then birds appeared; a vast array.
The birds trilled sweet condolenses.
Each one brought her a flower.
She turned them into dust of gold,
Enough to fill the hour.
Amazement urged my aging feet
To closer view the town
And like a heavy-handed blow
A strong wind slammed me to the ground.
A realm of slight and wondrous sights,
Still I noticed straight away
The town which had been all too real
Was shrinking, fading fast away.
Dazed, I sat upon the ground
When smiling ear to ear
And wearing, yes, my beaver hat
A young man did appear.
He faced me squarely , one on one,
On his face a daring smirk
And if I could but knuckle up
His jaw would feel real hurt.
'These woods are old and ancient
And brimming full you see
With things as old as time itself
And many other things to be.'
He winched and then he grew quite tense
I sensed in him a need to go
Still I motioned to the empty space
Of a town with nothing left to show.
'The town with all it's wonders
Is always there my friend
You have to be invited
But you're not old enough youngman.'
A querry to be pondered.
I stroked my chin hairs gray;
Assured him how,if years from now
I'd surely find a way.
'You're young but when your time is come
You'll know the 'where and how,'
Now if you'd win your youth again
The time to leave is now.'
He tossed my hat up to the wind.
'Go, let the beaver be your guide,
Back through the dark and ancient woods
Past the stream,to gain outside.'
I crawled and stumbled as I strove
To keep the beaver in my sight
And prayed that I would gain my goal;
Be rid of woods and feel sunlight.
And all that which I thought was lost
Took hold and had it's way
(A sensation of returning youth;
The darkening hairs; the fading gray)
The stream seemed but a paltry thing
And easy to transverse, I found
A parody, for now it's me
Who took it in a single bound.
Gaining now a healthy pace
I knew that it would not be long
My heart was racing happily
So I broke out in song.
(Song) 'The very narrow exit
Is now within my view
And 'oh', 'I do so want to dance,'
Then did a twirl or two.'
My steps went slack when I looked back
Sheer horror filled my face.
The woods; the darkness; everything
Was fading out; a quick erase.
I trembled at how rapidly
This plight was closing fast behind
Then raced with renewed strenght and cried
'Oh God in Heaven give me time.'
I reached the exit just ahead
Of the vaccum gaping at my heels
And tasted briefly quick relief.
Yet lived to down a bitter pill.
My hand had not quite cleared the hole.
I watched it dissipate.
Too shocked to know if there was pain.
The scream that came, came much too late.
And I was peeved when no one believed
My haunting wooded tale.
With high degree they laughed at me
And some cried psych ward, others jail.
I know people will be people
But now for me, I'm prone to be
Always trailing down some country road
On the look out for Yew trees.
I always wear my beaver hat
And pray for a strong wind;
My ticket to that exit
Where I lost my good right hand.
Or maybe an old gentleman
Will show up to guide me in.
A pair of seasoned strangers
Could become the best of friends.
Copyright © Reta Pruitt | Year Posted 2018
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