"I must go," I snapped,
"Aren't you cold in those silly pyjamas?
Which way's north?"
"O, come along;
I'll show you."
Scrambling up, she grabbed
My hand and pulled me away from the path
And through a rhododendron bush
And so by thicket and scrub till our way
Was flanked by a couple of standing stones
Some eight foot tall. She stopped as though challenged
And turned to me.
"Well this is it:
This is the end of the Tulgy Wood
Or whatever you call it. Go into the clearing,
Drink from the pool if you're brave enough
And someone will come for you. Now I must go;
I've got school in the morning." She tilted her head.
"You can kiss me goodbye if you like," she said.
My heart ached as I watched her flit
From shadow to shadow and out of sight.
Once she was gone the ghosts came back:
First it was only the silly voices
Chirruping and tittering,
Then something rattled a holly bush,
Flapped through the rhododendron leaves
And flopped down at my feet like a dog,
Blocking the way. She raised her face.
Her hair was thick and her bones stuck out.
She rasped, "There's something here you've missed‑
Something you've missed at the heart of the wood‑
A secret something‑ just for you."
I felt my chest constrict with fear
Or longing, thought of Pellinore
And walked at her‑ and so on out
Between the two big stones.
Was grey and lifeless. Nothing stirred,
Nothing gave voice.