Friday Fictioneers – Pan’s Pipes

Every week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (thank you, Rochelle!) hosts a flash fiction challenge, to write a complete story, based on a photoprompt, with a beginning, middle and end, in 100 words or less. Post it on your blog, and include the Photoprompt and Inlinkz (the blue frog) on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!

FF - Pan's pipes 180801

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

Pan’s pipes

Pan took his pipes from his lips. Nature shuddered. Bees that had bumbled in wildflowers vanished from meadows; birds no longer sang evensong in woodlands; lions were forced by lack of prey to scavenge carrion.

But men.

Men had ignored Pan for decades. They had burned fossil fuels to keep him at bay, to be safe. They worshipped the car; television; money. They had beaten Pan.

In the Arctic, methane seeped from previously frozen tundra, and the ice burned.

In the Antarctic, a billion-tonne iceberg calved from an ice-sheet.

Pan propped his pipes against a fence, sighed, and departed.

 

Neil Macdonald, a writer whose opinion I value highly, has suggested that the story would be better if it were less declamatory. I think he’s probably right. So here’s a revised version!

I’d be fascinated to know what others think, and whether this second version is an improvement!

Pan’s pipes (version 2)

Pan took his pipes from his lips. Nature shuddered. Bees that had bumbled in wildflowers vanished from meadows, birds no longer sang evensong in woodlands, and lions were forced by lack of prey to scavenge carrion.

Men, though, were different.

Fearing Pan, they had forced him out of their lives, burning fossil fuels ever faster as they rushed about in planes and cars, or numbed themselves with the flickering images of television. They overwhelmed him, until ice burned in the Arctic and billion-tonne icebergs calved from ice-sheets in the Antarctic.

Pan propped his pipes against a fence, sighed, and departed.

 

 

On coming late to womanhood

lavender

Would you like a bunch of lavender,
Purple flowers, sage green stems, and fragrant?

Once you might have had daisies
Gathered in your gingham skirt
While you made chains and counted petals
– loves me – loves me not.

But would you like a bunch of lavender,
Homely in style and straggling in habit
And fragrant with summer?

Once you might have had roses red,
A white dress,
(Would you have been romantic?
Would you have gone a virgin to your marriage bed?).

Come, have some lavender.
Blessed by bees, age-old remedy,
Bringer of forgetful sleep.

Once, your hands might have held posies from your children,
Orchids from your husband,
Tokens of their love, your worth
– loves me – loves me not.

Yes, I will have lavender
But not for sleep, not to forget.
I will have lavender and laugh with the bees,
My own habit straggling, but joyful.
I will have lavender and rejoice.

And one day I shall have lilies
White in my arms as I lie still
A small smile on my face
For my body – my old body – is perfect.