An Invocation To Pan
by Hilary Llewellyn-Williams, British
from Hummadruz, 2001
Pan, even though a foster brother of Zeus, is the only Greek immortal to be reported as having died.
The poet and classicist, Robert Graves, recounts the tradition in which a sailor called Thamos, sailing to Italy, heard a divine voice across the sea:
“Thamos, are you there? When you reach Palades, take care to proclaim that the great god Pan is dead!”
Robert Graves thinks that Thamos may have misheard the name. I am with both poets, and superstitious and do not like to go through winter, especially winter, without the full divine complement and compliment.
And that is before we get to global warming and ecological catastrophe.
And so I join in this invocation.
Invocation to Pan, Hilary Llewellyn-Williams
Pan, white, light gray, dark gray and black marble. Roman, Imperial period, 1st or 2nd century ACE.
Private collection on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Come, eye of the forest
man-membered; come, tree-sinewed
out of the boles and burrows
out of the humps and hollows
out of the heaps of leaves;
out of mist and darkness
out of sunshafts, gold motes,
flowers, insects humming:
brown lying down in summer by the river
your flute notes cool
and black striding up from the woods in winter
wreathed in fogs, your voice belling;
come, old one, come, green one,
good shepherd, wise steward:
long long lost
long long lost
let us find you
call you up, out, back, forth –
be here now!
O musk of fur sour
in the wind, your branched head
through the thickets
in your power, your power, your power.
Side view, as above