The Droods

by Jeffery Beam

for Grear Patterson

One day while walking through the woods,
I stumbled on a fairie drood.
As dreadful as that drood did seem,
No harm befell me by the stream.
The stream ran green with purple trout,
And all around the droody shouts
Of fair folk dressed in droody vests,
And droody spears lashed to their chests,
Red noses wrinkled by the wind,
And bluish beards upon their chins,
Red-haired lasses twirling round –
On their foreheads cyclamen crowns.
My dog lay down as in a spell.
He slept, then dreamed, and up I fell
Into a cedar’s moss-lined crook.
Beside me perched an ancient Rook,
A Crow King whose black feathers shone
Coal and diamond. Droody droned
The perfumed air and then he spoke,
“These droods upon whose land you woke,
Welcome you as you have strayed.
No evil trick, they think, to play.”
So there, before my eyes, appeared
Great piles of Apples, Berries, Pears,
Walnuts, Fern Fronds, Chanterelles.
Thick Crusts of Bread, and Robin’s Eggs,
Laid out about my weakened legs.
Blueberry water, Sweet Dandelion Cakes,
All smelled so good my stomach ached.
Again, I slept a thousand years,
And, now, I stand before you here,
Telling all I have to tell
Of droody folk, and droody spells.
But what a place!
The droody halls beneath the trees,
Green burbling brooks and droody teas.
Each time I walk I watch for Rook.
My dog, though old, has learned to talk.
Each night, before we go to bed,
We say our prayers and in our heads,
Dance droody folk, green and fair,
Leaping through the frothy air,
And fast before our sleepy eyes,
We float up into droody skies.

The Droods, from What We Have Lost: New & Selected Poems 1977 – 2001, copyright 2001, Green Finch Press