The faeries’ lament

Time was, you saw our mischief in all things
And wound yourselves around with ancient charms
To keep us from your cradles, stables, farms
And houses. You attributed the rings
Of mushrooms in your meadows to us, too;
A broken cup, soured milk – we got the blame,
And yet you dared not speak of us by name
For dread of other dark deeds we might do.
Now Oberon has lost his crown, it seems;
All is explained and known; no mystery
Attends mishaps of home or husbandry,
And we live only in midsummer dreams.
The faerie realm is fading with the years.
Soon we shall all be gone. But not your fears.

Last stand

Gull war-band. Gutter-mouthed, they scream their scorn,
Sweep circles, swoop on broadsword wings, their cries
As rough as dockers’ hands; allegiance sworn
In fo’c’sle oaths, hate hardening their eyes.
Incongruous, the heron holds the roof
Against the rabble, pleading peace. But they
Are pitiless; won’t let him rest, aloof
And dignified. The mob will have its way.
There is no patience in them for the still
And patient soul: the kind who’ll watch the stream
For fish to rise; who feels no urge to fill
The days with noise; lives quiet, content to dream.
The gulls reclaim the airspace, as my mind
Flies with the heron, leaving them behind.


Inspired by actual events. Poor old heron – he did his best, jabbing away with that long neck and sharp beak of his, but the gulls (who had no more right to be here than he did, what with our being seventeen miles from the sea and all) weren’t having any of it and drove him off our neighbours’ rooftop with a concerted aerial assault. Discretion may be the better part of valour, but he still looked pretty fed up as he flapped away. The incident made me think about how unsympathetic the world can be towards we quieter, more contemplative types: noise and bluster and ‘attitude’ are much more highly prized, to the extent that ‘introvert’ has become a perjorative term. Anyway, this one’s for my unfortunate friend the heron: hope it’s peaceful on whichever pond or river he’s haunting now, and that the fishing is good. N.