Alice O. Howell   



PAN:The Janitor


The school is closed, the children gone.

 He sighs, old man hitching up the sagging pants,

 fetching the broom to sweep history before him

 broken to fine dust and abandoned:

 crayon stubs, clips, gum wrapper, the broken Acropolis --

 oh, but for a beer!


then on down the lockered hall and into the music room

 the instruments alert in silence:

 triangles, drums, xylophone, and lo, in the corner:

 the Pipes of Pan!


the shadow lengthens, the broom begins its hairy beat,

 his feet to tap, his jaw to wag,

 till suddenly with a huge joyous shout

 he seizes the pipes, sits crosslegged again

 (though on a paint-stained table)


 to pipe and sway and sway and pipe

 the liquid ululating plaint until

 his haunt of Mount Hymettus looms through purple haze --

 ( pellucid nymphs flee gleefully here between the olive

trees! )


Ho! for prancing and dancing an orgy like the old days,

 his fine hoofs capering up the rocks

 him leering and winking

 and they covering this hot spicy old goat

 with fair garlands of fragrance and kisses!


A.O. Howell