Wandering alone in the Forest of Sherwood
for hour upon hour in the depths of the wood.
Then a grassy knoll comes into view
beneath dappled shade of trees entwined.
I lay down and through half-closed eyes, I find
myths in these patches of blue.
I begin to doze and peculiar dreams
filled with outlaws of old and screams
awaken me with a sudden jolt,
to find clouds have come to obscure the Sun -
my adventure no longer seems such fun
and the trees sigh my name, so I bolt.
But all these paths appear the same,
so I haven't a clue which way I came
and the notion of spending a night alone
in this haunted forest fills me with dread -
I'd never be found should I end up dead.
Oh if only I'd brought my phone!
Now in the undergrowth something is rustling.
It's far too measured to be an animal bustling.
'Who's there?' I cry in wavering tone.
There's no reply but that ominous sound
appearing to come from all around.
How I wish I'd stayed at home!
It dawns on me that I could become prey
to this something that stalks these woods today.
Listen! I think there's more than one...
I stand quite still and around me gaze.
There's nothing to be seen in this vast green maze,
yet my senses urge me to run.
But before I have time to even think,
something I glimpse that's gone in a blink.
A flash of Lincoln Green, I swear,
just shot between ferns and the Major Oak
and just then, to others I'm certain it spoke.
To breathe now, I hardly dare.
So I throw myself down onto hands and knees
and dive beneath the ferns and leaves,
praying I'll be safe in here.
I lie quite still, then begin to choke.
For I find myself suddenly engulfed in smoke,
then hear voices raised in a cheer.
Gingerly emerging from my hidey-hole,
to see steam billowing from a wooden bowl
suspended over a blazing fire,
while all around a raucous gang
of grubby misfits sing and bang
on a drum in their odd attire.
I must have strayed through a chink in time,
and I'm strangely entranced by their haunting rhyme.
It's all becoming so surreal -
the sights, the sounds, the smells of roasting
rabbit flesh and flat bread toasting.
This lifestyle has strange appeal.
As I watch, unseen, a sudden shout
from high in a tree prompts mad dash about.
Then one man grabs arrows and bow.
He shouts a command that the others soon follow,
retrieving their weapons from a dead tree hollow.
And off in stealth they go.
As I watch them leave, the very air
seems to close behind them - I can only stare
at the curious ripple that restores my time.
There's no longer a sign they were ever here -
no cooking pot, fire, nor casket of beer...
just an echo of obsolete rhyme.