The Dancer in the Wild

A little boy went to the woods, to see what he could find,
To rescue frightened villagers, a knight noble and kind,
And with his lance of broken oak, slay dragons in his mind.
Triumphantly he stood upon a hill where stones were piled.

He paused within his reverie, something might be wrong,
Sweet notes of music filled the air, to whom did they belong?
He climbed down to level ground, to listen to the song
Of the Dancer in the Wild.

The piper danced on goat’s legs, with fur of brownish red.
A syrinx was clutched within his hands, so softly did he tread.
He had a handsome beard, and two great horns upon his head,
The hair above his august face, around the horns, was wild.

The beast man drew still nearer, while dancing wild and free.
The frightened child began to think ‘A devil he must be’,
And to avoid his notice, tried to hide behind a tree
From the Dancer in the Wild.

“Oh, Little Child, you need not hide,” the beast man calmly said.
“I would not hurt you, Little One, so there’s no need to dread.
My music carries only joy, so let it fill your head,
And leave your fears behind and come and dance with me awhile.”

“I shouldn’t talk to strangers, not to goaty men like you.
I have no way of knowing if the words you say are true.”
The boy said, “If I’d trust you, then I’d have to be a fool,”
To the Dancer in the Wild.

“For devils have no goodness, only rotten, evil ways,
And if I let you get me, then my Mom would weep for days.
So take your music elsewhere, even if it does amaze,
For never would I be a friend to one so dark and vile!”

“My child, you speak so harshly, you don’t know who you blame.
If I were so horrific, then I’d have to die of shame.
I’m not a devil, but a God, and Great Pan is my name,”
Said the Dancer in the Wild.

“And all the world’s creatures in my melodies delight,
From frogs to gnats to flying bats, to eagles taking flight,
And deer within the forests, and owls swooping in the night,
The mighty ox, the clever fox, the toothy crocodile.”

“All love to listen to my song, whenever given chance.
There is no call for fighting, so you may put down your lance,
Then cast away your fears and come and join me in the dance,”
Said the Dancer in the Wild.

The boy came out to take a closer look at the Goat God.
“Your words, they are so friendly, even if your form seems odd.
If you promise not to harm me, then I shall give my nod.
I must confess, your song is best, your melodies beguile.”

“My Little Boy, I never meant to cause you such alarm,
I didn’t mean to frighten you, I only meant to charm.
I swear upon the river Styx that I mean you no harm,”
Said the Dancer in the Wild.

The little boy no longer feared the God with chestnut hair,
So a golden afternoon was spent, dancing without care,
And thus the two became dear friends, and laughter filled the air.
The two of them had had such fun, the Great God and the child.

He didn’t see him often, only every now and then.
His Mom always proclaimed him an imaginary friend,
But many joyous afternoons, the child would gladly spend
With the Dancer in the Wild.

As he grew up he listened to the words his Mother said.
He came to think that all those joys were just inside his head.
The woods in which he’d played became a parking lot instead.
Like all boys do, he grew to be a man and not a child.

No longer playing as a knight, he had become a clerk.
He traded in his wood lance for a briefcase full of work.
But underneath his boring life, his memories did lurk,
Of the Dancer in the Wild.

One night, when he was leaving work he heard a haunting sound,
Familiar music from his past, he had to look around.
And there, beneath a traffic light, he gasped at what he found.
The pipes were lowered, with a wink, the Goat God kindly smiled.

“My Friend, you seem so shocked to see me standing here tonight.
You look as though you’ve seen a ghost, and taken quite a fright.
I tell you now, my dear old friend, that everything’s alright,”
Said the Dancer in the Wild.

“This can’t be,” the young man stuttered, “This can’t be what it seems.
You can’t really be here; you’re just a figment of my dreams.
And yet you stand there smiling, with a grin so wide it gleams.
And playing those sweet melodies, that in my youth beguiled.”

“Can it be that I’ve gone crazy?  Could I have lost my head?
The woods are gone, so if you’re real, then surely you’d be dead.
There is no way that this could be,” is what the young man said.
To the Dancer in the Wild.

“Sweet Child, wherever life is found, is where I make my home,
And even in the city, there are many beasts that roam.
There are raccoons in that attic, and pigeons on that dome,
There’s dogs, and rats, and alley cats, and roaches so reviled.”

“So you see, the wild, it doesn’t end, where the city starts.
The web of life within this world is made of many parts,
And all of them that hear my song, rejoice within their hearts,”
Said the Dancer in the Wild.

“Old Friend, I’ve missed you dearly, I had thought you weren’t real.
To see you in this place and time, it just seems so surreal.
There’s just so much to process that I don’t know how to feel.
I must admit, I always thought the time we spent worthwhile.”

“But I’m a little child no more, I cannot run and play,
I’m much too old to do those things, and plus I’ve worked all day…”
“My Little Child, just stop right there, and heed the words I say,”
Said the Dancer in the Wild.

“A little revelry’s important, every now and then,
Your mortal age, it does not matter, do you comprehend?
You never can grow too old for the company of friends.
There should be much wonder, when your stories are compiled.”

The young man laughed to hear him speak, he knew his words were true,
And though he’d buried all his joys, he now knew what to do.
So he listened to the music, and danced the whole night through,
With the Dancer in the Wild.

[Jason Ross Inczauskis completed his Masters degree in 2011, and is currently residing close to Chicago, Illinois.  He lives in a small apartment with his love, Tabitha, and more books and dolls than you can shake a stick at.  He has worshipped Athena since the year 2000, and gradually came to worship the other Hellenic deities as well, officially converting to Hellenismos in 2010.  When asked about his spiritual path, he may refer to himself as a Hellene, a Hellenic, or Greek Pre-Orthodox, depending on who’s asking and his mood at the time, though he always follows it with the caveat: ‘but not a very good one’.  He is the editor of the forthcoming Shield of Wisdom:  A Devotional Anthology in Honor of Athena.  His devotional writing has also appeared in several books at this point, including From Cave to Sky:  A Devotional Anthology in Honor of Zeus, Out of Arcadia:  A Devotional Anthology in Honor of PanUnto Herself:  A Devotional Anthology for Independent Goddesses, The Scribing Ibis:  An Anthology of Pagan Fiction in Honor of Thoth, and The Shining Cities: An Anthology of Pagan Science Fiction.]


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