“Overflows the cup, so would the drinker drink.
But overflow the mind, should the thinker think?
Beset by dichotomy, the drinker should seem drunk,
And the thinker phlegmatic, but below as above
I know it to be: that ‘love’ is the thinker’s delight and drinker’s fight.
The wreath wears well the crown it does not own.
Who is the thinker, or the drinker, if he is alone?
Upon the forest floor a birth is seen; morrow, they pledge, morrow, he’ll be a man.
The child is borne from reed and song; along each leg the branches curl and twist.
And as he grows, upon his steps across the foliage, what once was supple, hardens.
Prostrate, as far as he can reach, he pleads, invokes the names of Gods of his;
many and mighty, but one above them all:
“My woe, o woe, for Pan, do you not bear witness to my rooted legs as you did for my birth?”
But rooted he remained, until a man he did become, until all the woods would know his form.
The rats would dance across his legs, the bats upon his brow, and deer began to kiss
his arms, outstretched towards his hands; cupped, in sight of sun, where he could see
The birds, o birds, a nest kept warm by borrowed hands.
But Pan was watchful elsewhere. That those who knew the woods knew the man,
his rosy cheeks and gardened skin, believed as Pan, would deliver bounty to their home.
The corners of tents and pitches, little ditches, barbed traps relapsed the rooted man
to wit, the given became the taken, that Pan saw, and given wonder became taken plunder.
But Pan refused to plan anew, or revive the slaughtered creatures. The woods were loud
with knuckle, tooth and gnaw, but loudest still, amongst the slaughter, what always was,
The rooted man’s screams.
When all the woods that loved him so had died, they wretched him free, as thanks, and caught
his fall and many tears; he wept for life, of flesh restored so raw, and how he ran into light beyond the figs.
“Our brother, reclaimed from Pan, how walk you so?” they cheered through bone and blood;
A horned hunter came to his side; his knife in hand, and said,
“The rooted man’s dreams.”
The songs they sing of that night are mute and plenty, and filled the vases full with wine;
the man once rooted could dance his feet till sore; the horned hunter taught him so,
but dance they did, not for pleasure, in thought, but for war. And Pan began to show how so.
And lo the caskets and chiton were tightened. The stars began to sing the song of fireflies
and pear-dipped vases found warmth in lonely men, for those refused to dance refused to drink,
and none had found the gift of lying for tomorrow’s health. If one could spy through rafter-beams
and not amidst the cleave of crying dancers, they had made an arrow toward the west
where wine was wrestled from haggler’s hands. Before the night was done, all men were joined
So glad were they of dawn’s arrested sleep, a proclamation was made of which the horned
hunter witnessed. He saw through beam and cleave alike the man once rooted cheer at
callous pride, to the men he had lied, to domesticide, that nuts and fruits were made for deer,
and flocks of men were made for greater labour. The horned hunter bared it not, and raised
his voice until the dust inside all man’s hearts had shifted. “Your blood is red as much as mine;
our blood runs thick in flesh or cervine,” and all were quiet like the woods were all around them
once again. That nights like these were naught to come again, the man once rooted cast
himself across the room; his eyes without a spot of black; his feet were under and arms over.
And all would see that he would not be prey. That he, and not them, should be made to know,
he brought his hand against his neck and, using words of man he learnt, saw beneath the flesh:
The seed of hunters’ plea was noble by the night’s conclusion. The toil of those who found fruit
by the stream to stay alive continued not; as fire spread like vines across the house, the man
once rooted and comrades saw that Pan would swear; he bent his knee in mud and soil.
And when he thought the bargain over, to return to Gaia, he saw the men that he had made:
aghast at circumstance, alive for once and more. Even that did Pan not know, only forlorn,
as before they threw him from the burning wreck, they clipped his horns. And Pan then knew:
the man-once-rooted would live forever and more; a man could he become only when
the woods were still and peace was law - a hunter of all, and prey to none. And all were hunters
but one, who spit the west, and spoke of horns upon a face most divine, and not the moss-covered cadence.
When they heard of such a face, the men resolved towards him -
the way for them was laid with all the wonders of Gaia, and long it was, and
their music could not be bare no more - the man once rooted recalled the birds in borrowed
hands - how filling they were! - and refused to let their songs be sung no more. What men were
they, whose tongues had tasted wine and minds had known divine; whose guts would seldom
become fuller upon a return; whose souls would seldom become truer without their choice their
own. The road across the world was full of wonders - long it was, and Pan could watch their
smiles and cheers, and hear the song of birds, his birds, the birds, evoked anew.
And when the rocks inside their hands proved dull against the flesh and bone, they saw the craft
of slings which nary missed their mark; and when the stones were dull against the westward
wind, they jumped and grabbed the fingers high above their heads, as trees were rich and tall
in the Garden they traversed. A man proclaimed, he who had done so little for fear of gelding
by oppressive peers, that he was fit beyond their rank, and only if a mountain passed them by,
only if, he could throw this spear across the sky, across the woods, and pierce the sun itself.
They laughed about the night that followed, if boasts could be believed, and at the end of that
The man added one caveat: a day the spear would take, and then, the sun would have fled.
So when upon a mountain they saw, between the here and there, the silence at the peak was
all the men could give, and parcel to man received; to throw his spear unless desired the man
to be so thrown himself. The birds received their call, and watched the boastful hunter cast his
feet like weights of a weapon not yet built, and dreams began amok amongst the man not yet
thrown. Towards his target one arm pointed -- another held the spear so red and true –
so forward, heave.
He could not believe the tales of sunsets blazoned with tears of stars, for what would be the use
of such a sight if all could gaze upon it? How, the man began to cry, could he remove
that which, in his mem’ry, asked naught from him? So when the shaft had left his hand,
a silent prayer was made, that if beauty was the sun then refuse his sight to claim it so;
to pride was worth the heart of night’s lonely lover and retainer; the sun was not a man.
And thus no man could prove what throw was made, or even distance, and blinded
they became, except the spearman, pithy and sore, he toured the wilderness with those
who followed. The first of multitude; the man-once-rooted amongst them so, laid lonely
footsteps amongst the soil, like a club-leg stranger, until the night returned and Pithios, had
naught but pity for man: he returned
what sight they had.
Through the woods molested and unrelent, the seeing men began a company’s search;
another horned hunter swallowed air around the soil they claimed, but much as he was sought,
the men grew roots into the land and called it Pithy, for sight that was returned had been
redoubled, and now the gentle shiver of hairs upon a doe’s behind provoked a slew of spears,
and man could witness the micron of life deplete with clarity. But man-once-rooted felt phantoms
Throughout his limbs and none could question his profess; they saw the touch of Gods’ caress,
and man’s dalliance divine had just begun. So the man-once-rooted, older stlll, cast his net
as wide upon the earth he began to know; but all that dwelled upon those hills gave off the
stench of blood and bone; for zeal, for meals, and fat that drips below the flame. And men grew
lean through aspiration.
They hunted still for one refused they to kill; the horned hunter who courted thrill and made
enemies of Pan and Gods of milder temperaments. To lure or charm, the man refused to say,
they saw the man-once-rooted pull the horns of yesterday’s stag and dance until the night
amidst the bosom wild; “That if you and Pan were kin, man-rooter, let me show you my wares
and drink the wine I pour tonight. And drink you son of mine, and drink against the end of night!”
And he refused to leave his post. When hunts grew lame and game had all been carved from
the wood’s refuse, the men went in and pulled their leader from his trunk, and minded spit and
teeth. The horns they pulled and pulled, and retrieve the man from within; all were tangled like
sinews. When the news they told the horned man, whose rage they feared, they kissed his
feet. Aside from a shielded grief, the horned man was silent, he resolved against nature’s
shallow ploy, and cheered for three compartments made his;
the strength of stags,
the heart of man,
and hands divine.
And so frivolity ensued the like which had not been done before. And while their bellies growled
Their lips were loud, and wet with wine. And while their bellies roared the vases were poured
And shared. And while their bellies raged the men uncaged their final game; a doe as white
As snow. For all the green they’d seen, and none other besides; what laid beneath was what
They sought. The first was slow, but by the last they were fast; the hoof from foot, a tail in teeth,
a snake so red it curled inside and took five to free. The horned hunter watched the joy that
Wine could not replace; if man were primal as Pan had planned, let them choose the beast that
They became, so man should act upon the land with eyes without fury. Yes, as thatch reddied
blue and day began anew, each man was spent and full, and the horned hunter rested.
He awoke without an arm. And no man swore harm, and all were keen to plant their roots into
The land. So the horned hunter drank for pain and could not explain to where his arm had gone.
He awoke without his leg. And no man could see the beast that did the deed, and so the horned
Hunter limped into the orchard, large as it was. He begged and drank beneath the tree.
His limbs remained of what he remembered. And women and children fled into their gates,
And with each that found homes a finger was replaced, so few and small that he could only
Jape. By his right there little remained; he stretched with a palm towards the sun he dare not
See. They carried and cheered for when he awoke, faces he could not recognise.
To where do you take me?
The scent of rye and oats was strong enough to wake him alone in the woods.
Alone. And the
cobbled road towards his home stretched on.
Pan, alive amidst his shade,
chewed on seeds and kissed his head; oil did drip between his lips. For what he did not spake
he thought, and he could only think what thanks he ought to give.
And when some advent of ages past brought him home again he realised he could not lift his
head, for the horns now stretched out and, where they stretched, caressed the sun.
and the horned hunter wept, as sons and daughters gathered their furs and bones, on tables
They had only borrowed, in a feast without flesh. And so the left-alone person cast himself
across the hall for all to see, and they took all that they wanted from what remained, and
he cried for one more dream: for after his bleeding horns, oh, his heart and hands too,
his eyes should be eaten last, so that as his time passed, he could see his men return
to eat through borrowed hands anew.