Rudyard Kipling

(30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936 / Bombay)

Pan in Vermont


About the 15th of this month you may expectour Mr. -- , with the usual Spring Seed, etc., Catalogues.– Florist’s Announcement.


It’s forty in the shade to-day, the spouting eaves declare;
The boulders nose above the drift, the southern slopes are bare;
Hub-deep in slush Apollo’s car swings north along the Zod-
iac. Good luck, the Spring is back, and Pan is on the road!

His house is Gee & Tellus’ Sons, – so goes his jest with men –
He sold us Zeus knows what last year; he’ll take us in again.
Disguised behind the livery-team, fur-coated, rubber-shod –
Yet Apis from the bull-pen lows – he knows his brother God!

Now down the lines of tasseled pines the yearning whispers wake –
Pithys of old thy love behold! Come in for Hermes’s sake!
How long since that so-Boston boot with reeling Maenads ran!
Numen adest! Let be the rest. Pipe and we pay, O Pan.

(What though his phlox and hollyhocks ere half a month demised?
What though his ampelopsis clambered not as advertised?
Though every seed was guaranteed and every standard true –
Forget, forgive they did not live! Believe, and buy anew!)

Now o’er a careless knee he flings the painted page abroad –
Such bloom hath never eye beheld this side of Eden Sword;
Such fruit Pomona marks her own, yea, Liber oversees,
That we may reach (one dollar each) the Lost Hesperides!

Serene, assenting, unabashed, he writes our orders down: –
Blue Asphodel on all our paths – a few true bays for crown –
Uncankered bud, immoral flower, and leaves that never fall –
Apples of Gold, of Youth, of Health – and – thank you, Pan, that’s all….

He’s off along the drifted pent to catch the Windsor train,
And swindle every citizen from Keene to Lake Champlain.
But where his goat’s-hoof cut the crust – beloved, look below –
He’s left us (I’ll forgive him all) the may-flower ‘neath her snow!

Submitted: Monday, March 29, 2010

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