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Oh no, what is that sound I heard?

  • Oh no, what is that sound I heard?

Very faint and shrill and blurred,

It made me hurry forward, shaken and stirred.

Then still very faint and shrill,

It sounded far ahead, over the hill.

It made me hesitate and want to go back,

And run from this perilous track!

It was a whistling sound,

Rising up all around.

The whistling broke out on either side.

Then it passed the whole length of the wood,

Where should I run, where could I hide?

Oh no, what is that sound?

Then the pandering began.

Ever so light, just like falling leaves,

The sound was so delicate and slight.

  • Then a regular rhythm – it grew,

This put me into a real stew.

It was the pat, pat, pat of little feet.

Not a dance, not Beau Jangles on easy street!

But still a long way off, in front or behind?

Suddenly it swelled and multiplied.

It sounded like a rushing parade.

A rabbit ran hard through the trees,

It almost knocked me over!

“Get out, don’t linger you fool! Take cover!”

It shouted, its eyes full of fear,

“Get out, get out of here!”

The pandering rose like sudden hail on the dry leaf carpet.

Through my frightened fur I began to sweat.

The whole wood seemed running now,

Hunting, chasing, through every bush and bough.

  • In blind panic, I ran into things,

I felt the savage pain of nettle stings.

I stumbled, I fell and cut my knee.

I plunged into the hollow of an old dead tree!

I trembled listening to the whisperings,

As I burrowed deeper underground!

Oh no, what is that sound?

I huddled, wishing I had wings,

As I trembled, listening to the whisperings,

The whistling, the pandering overhead,

As I lay deep in the darkness, full of dread.

Randy had tried to shield me all he could,

From this Peril, this Horror, the Terror of the Wild Wood!

“The Wind in the Willows” - 1908. “The wild wood“, in verse by

© Ted Skuse, 14 February 2019

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