I like to think of this piece as Lewis Carroll meets Dr Seuss, but I’m probably kidding myself. Still, its fun to recite out loud and hopefully evokes images of a spooky forest full of fantastic creatures.

Nightwood

In Nightwood, where the paths are twisty,
‘Tis always dark and often misty.
In the trees, the grummons frolic
And the soors wax melancholic
At the passage of the wollock
With his hide all grey and gristy

Underneath the eastern eaves,
Shaded by the gnarlish leaves,
The last calumber hides by day.
At night she treads the Winding Way
In search of trembling, quivering prey
Or treasures she might thieve.

On Raccol Ridge, a pair of vung
Hoot loudly as they curse the sun;
Whilst errant knights attempt to find
The trail to Saint Padringo’s shrine,
To sip there of the blessed wine
And live forever young.

The glammock tree grows there and here
With seeping sap and mossy beard.
Its branches house the small filloon
Which to its scent are quite immune
(But others who inhale will swoon,
Take root, then disappear).

And everywhere, the yellow proot
Grows all year long from hanging root
The quammerbirds delight to sip
The honeyed nectar from its tip;
With fragile reed-thin bill they dip
This sweetest liquid loot.

In Glimmerglade, on moon dark nights
The rutting bilbers roar and fight.
Their bellows shake both bush and shrub;
Their knurbled heads, the shapes of clubs,
Collide with sounds like hollow tubs.
And doomed is he who sees this sight!

But rarer still, so rumour tells
Are the Wispers of the Wells
Subtle spirits, faery kin,
Light of tread and swift of wing
Who meet on Clover-Top to sing
In voices toned like bells.

Perhaps once in each two hundred years
The Wisper’s songs grace mortal ears
And yet, ‘tis perilous, it’s said –
The knowing folk speak words of dread
And make signs against the walking dead
Over their foaming beers.

“Heed not the Wisper’s voice!” say they.
“Turn and run the other way!
Or bedevilled ye will be –
Always fettered, never free.”
They tell the tale of Old McGree
From their grandparents day.

So if to Nightwood you should wander
In search of peril or of plunder
Tread carefully ‘twixt glade and dell;
Beware of sight and sound and smell
And to your hearth return to tell
Some tale of arcane wonder.

© Darryn Roberts 2007

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