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Faery Poetry

Doubt no more that Oberon—

Never doubt that Pan

Lived, and played a reed, and ran

After nymphs in a dark forest,

In the merry, credulous days,—

Lived, and led a fairy band

Over the indulgent land!

- Edna St. Vincent Millay

  * * * * * * * * * *  

The Word

"O Earth! Thou hast not any wind that blows

Which is not music; every weed of thine

Pressed rightly flows in aromatic wine;

Any humble hedge-row flower that grows,

And every little brown bird that doth sing,

Hath something greater than itself, and bears

A living word to every living thing,

Albeit holds the message unawares.

All shapes and sounds have something which is not

Of them: a spirit broods amid the grass;

Vague outlines of the Everlasting Thought

Lie in the melting shadows as they pass;

The touch of an eternal presence thrills

The fringes of the sunsets and the hills.

- Richard Realf,

circa 1870

 * * * * * * * * * *  

     The Stolen Child

Where dips the rocky highland

Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,

There lies a leafy island

Where flapping herons wake

The drowsy water-rats;

There we've hid our faery vats,

Full of berries

And of reddest stolen cherries.

Come away, O human child!

To the waters and the wild

With a faery, hand in hand,

For the world's more full of weeping

than you can understand. 

Where the wave of moonlight glosses

The dim grey sands with light,

Far off by furthest Rosses

We foot it all the night,

Weaving olden dances,

Mingling hands and mingling glances

Till the moon has taken flight;

To and fro we leap

And chase the frothy bubbles,

While the world is full of troubles

And is anxious in its sleep.

Where the wandering water gushes

From the hills above Glen-Car,

In pools among the rushes

That scarce could bathe a star,

We seek for slumbering trout

And whispering in their ears

Give them unquiet dreams;

Leaning softly out

From ferns that drop their tears

Over the young streams.

Come away, O human child!

To to waters and the wild

With a faery, hand in hand,

For the world's more full of weeping

than you can understand. 

Away with us he's going,

The solemn-eyed:

He'll hear no more the lowing

Of the calves on the warm hillside

Or the kettle on the hob

Singing peace into his breast,

Or see the brown mice bob

Round and round the oatmeal-chest.

For he comes, the human child,

To the waters and the wild

With a faery, hand in hand,

From a world more full of weeping

than he can understand.

- W. B. Yeats


 * * * * * * * * * *  

The Sidhe 

I have sought you:

Over the tide levelled shore

on the West Wind's wide corridor

adorned with wave borne mosses

and the bleached bones of the nautilus;

Among the bending reeds

of the dark moor, brooding

under the crow's silvered wings;

In the cool wood, deep sunken

beneath the amber dropping boughs,

wide with the calling birds.

I seek for you in the harrowed fields,

in the brake shaded brooks of unfathomable scent,

in the asphalt humbled ecologies

of vacant lot tangles, springing lush,

and along the pounded, smoky roads.

And always I may find you

wherever I have pushed

open my stone green heart.

- T. Powell

Copyright 2012

* Sidhe - the faeries [pronounced "shee" as in "beahn-sidhe" (banshee)]

 * * * * * * * * * *  

i thank you God for this most amazing day,

for the leaping greenly spirits of trees,

and for the blue dream of sky

and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.

- e.e. cummings

 * * * * * * * * * *  

    A Call of the Sidhe 

Tarry thou yet, late lingerer in the twilight's glory

Gay are the hills with song: earth's faery children leave

More dim abodes to roam the primrose-hearted eve,

Opening their glimmering lips to breathe some wondrous story.

Hush, not a whisper! Let your heart alone go dreaming.

Dream unto dream may pass: deep in the heart alone

Murmurs the Mighty One his solemn undertone.

Canst thou not see adown the silver cloudland streaming

Rivers of rainbow light, dewdrop on dewdrop falling,

Starfire of silver flames, lighting the dark beneath?

And what enraptured hosts burn on the dusky heath!

Come thou away with them, for Heaven to Earth is calling.

These are Earth's voice--her answer--spirits thronging.

Come to the Land of Youth: the trees grown heavy there

Drop on the purple wave the ruby fruit they bear.

Drink: the immortal waters quench the spirit's longing.

Art thou not now, bright one, all sorrow past, in elation,

Filled with wild joy, grown brother-hearted with the vast,

Whither thy spirit wending flits the dim stars past

Unto the Light of Lights in burning adoration.

 - A. E. (George Russell)


*Sidhe - those of the hill; the faeries

*Tarry - to linger or wait around

 * * * * * * * * * *  


by Jane Kiskaddon

A Faery Song

We who are old, old and gay,

O so old!

Thousands of years, thousands of years,

If all were told:

Give to these children, new from the world,

Silence and love;

And the long dew-dropping hours of the night,

And the stars above:

Give to these children, new from the world,

Rest far from men.

Is anything better, anything better?

Tell us then:

Us who are old, old and gay,

O so old!

Thousands of years, thousands of years,

If all were told.

  - W. B. Yeats


 * * * * * * * * * *  

from God's Grandeur

And for all this, nature is never spent;

There lives the dearest freshness deep down in things;

And though the last lights off the black West went

Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs -

Because the Holy Ghost over the bent

World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

 - Gerald Manley Hopkins


 * * * * * * * * * *  


Hunched like a faun, he hooed

From grove of moon-glint and fen-frost

Until all owls in the twigged forest

Flapped black to look and brood

On the call this man made.

No sound but a drunken coot

Lurching home along river bank.

Stars hung water-sunk, so a rank

Of double star-eyes lit

Boughs where those owls sat.

An arena of yellow eyes

Watched the changing shape he cut,

Saw hoof harden from foot, saw sprout

Goat horns. Marked how god rose

And galloped woodward in that guise.

- Sylvia Plath, 1960

* * * * * * * * * *

Vespers in Napa County


With dusk weighing

on brawn oaks who gently lean,

the humble, stoic roadside weeds,

the vast vineyards bound wide

where burnished shadows

scatter the fragrant gold; 

On these hills of summer blonde

- shores against the deep

sky with its pearl moon; 

Down the highway bed still warm

from the day now flown; 

I see the spirit of each waiting stone,

each atom, dangling leaf and star

is a boundless love -

is wild God;

And the distant city lights burning to find

its soul,

which never was lost.

- T. Powell

Copyright 2012

*Vespers - the time of evening prayer

   * * * * * * * * * *  

Song of the Wandering Aengus

I walked out to the hazel wood,

Because a fire was in my head,

And I cut and peeled a hazel wand,

And hooked a berry on a thread;

And when white moths were on the wing,

And moth-like stars were flickering out,

I dropped the berry in a stream

And caught a little silver trout.

And when I had laid it on the floor

And gone to blow the fire aflame,

Something rustled on the ground,

And someone called me by my name:

It had become a glimmering girl

With apple blossom in her hair

Who called me by my name and ran

And faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering

Through hollow lands and through hilly lands,

I will find out where she has gone,

And kiss her cheek and take her hand;

And walk among long dappled grass,

And pluck till time and times are done,

The silver apples of the moon,

The golden apples of the sun.

- W. B. Yeats


*Aengus - the Irish god of love and inspiration

  * * * * * * * * * *  

from A Midsummer Night's Dream

 But we are spirits of another sort:

I with the morning's love have oft made sport,

And, like a forester, the groves may tread,

Even till the eastern gate, all fiery-red,

Opening on Neptune with fair blessed beams,

Turns into yellow gold his salt green streams. 

- Wm Shakespeare


  * * * * * * * * * *  


Beyond, beyond the mountain line,

The grey-stone and the boulder,

Beyond the growth of dark green pine,

That crowns its western shoulder,

There lies that fairy-land of mine,

Unseen of a beholder.

Its fruits are all like rubies rare;

Its streams are clear as glasses;

There golden castles hang in air,

And purple grapes in masses,

And noble knights and ladies fair

Come riding down the passes.

Ah me! they say if I could stand

Upon those mountain ledges,

I should see on either hand

Plain fields and dusty hedges;

And yet I know my fairy-land

Lies somewhere o'er their edges.

 - Cecil Frances Alexander


  * * * * * * * * * *  


Poetry reveals that there is no empty space.

When your truth forsakes its shyness,

When your fears surrender to your strengths,

You will begin to experience

That all existence

Is a teeming sea of infinite life.

In a handful of ocean water

You could not count all the finely tuned


Who are acting stoned

For very intelligent and sane reasons

And of course are becoming extremely sweet

And wild.

In a handful of the sky and earth,

In a handful of God,

We cannot count

All the ecstatic lovers who are dancing there

Behind the mysterious veil.

True art reveals there is no void

Or darkness.

There is no loneliness to the clear-eyed mystic

In this luminous, brimming

Playful world.

- Hafiz

 * * * * * * * * * *  

from the Tenth Pythian Ode

Never on foot or ship

could you find the marvelous road

to the feast of the Hyperboreans.

Never the Muse is absent from their ways:

lyres clash, and the flutes cry,

and everywhere maiden choruses whirling.

They bind their hair

in golden laurel

and take their holiday.

Neither disease nor bitter old age

is mixed in their sacred blood;

far from labor and battle they live;

they escape Nemesis, the over just.

Danae's son came that day,

breathing strength in his heart,

and Athene led him to mix with those blessed men.

- Pindar

498 BC

(transl. Richard Lattimore)

 * * * * * * * * * *  

"Lady with a Unicorn"

- Raphael


What I am I must not show

What I am thou couldst now know

Something betwixt heaven and hell

Something that neither stood nor fell

Something that through thy wit or will

May work thee good, may work thee ill.

Neither substance quite, nor shadow,

Haunting lonely moor and meadow,

Dancing by the haunted spring,

Riding on the whirlwind's wing;

Aping in fantastic fashion

Every change of human passion,

While o'er our frozen minds they pass,

Like shadows from the mirror'd glass.

Wayward, fickle, is our mood,

Hovering betwixt bad and good,

Happier than brief-dated man,

Living ten times o'er his span;

Far less happy, for we have

Help nor hope beyond the brave!

 - Sir Walter Scott

early 19thc.

 * * * * * * * * * *  

 Locusts and Wild Honey

This range of the lone quail

now is blessed;

Her clear notes crying

in the wilderness

Of sunfire

on the oaks' soft leaves

Budding in the shoals of sky

To dangle in the tides of breeze

Now swaying,

sometimes hovering there,

Veiling the fluid gold of the bees

Crusting bark with sugar drip

Gathered from sweet sage and rye

By faeries of the rosy air.

The meadow wells

with their firelit wings,

'Round downs of grass,

deep anchored trees,

As cattle roam the sweep of hill

Crossed by blue locusts,

starling chased.

Old Gaea thrives on lavish fare

And gathers into lucent space

Out of her rustic soul, these things -

Her sky vast heart to fill.  

  - T. Powell

Copyright 2013

  * * * * * * * * * *  

from the Tale of the Wife of Bath:

In th' olde dayes of the Kyng Arthour,

Of which that Britons speken greet honour,

Al was this land fulfild of fayerye.

The elf-queene, with hir joly compaignye,

Daunced ful ofte in many a grene mede.

This was the olde opinion, as I rede;

I speke of manye hundred yeres ago.

But now kan no man se none elves mo,

For now the grete charitee and prayeres

Of lymytours and othere hooly freres,

That serchen every lond and every streem,

As thikke as motes in the sonne-beem,

Blessynge halles, chambres, kichenes, boures,

Citees, burghes, castels, hye toures,

Thropes, bernes, shipnes, dayeryes --

This maketh that ther ben no fayeryes.

For ther as wont to walken was an elf

Ther walketh now the lymytour hymself

In undermeles and in morwenynges,

And seyth his matyns and his hooly thynges

As he gooth in his lymytacioun.

 - Geoffrey Chaucer

(Late 14thc.)

[Mede - meadow; Mo - more; Lymytours - alms collectors; Boures - bowers, bedrooms; Burghes - towns; Thropes - villages; Bernes - barns; Shipnes - stables;

Wont - customary, usual; Undermeles - late mornings; Morwenynges - early mornings; Matins - morning prayers; Lymytacioun - assigned district]

 * * * * * * * * * *  

from Paradise Lost

... or fairy elves,

Whose midnight revels by a forest side

Or fountain some belated peasant sees,

Or dreams he sees, while over head the moon

Sits arbitress, and nearer to the earth

Wheels her pale course, they on their mirth and dance

Intent, with jocund music charm his ear;

At once with joy and fear his heart rebounds.

 - John Milton


 * * * * * * * * * *  


He who binds to himself a joy

Doth the winged life destroy;

But he who kisses the joy as it flies,

Lives in Eternity's sunrise.

 - William Blake


 * * * * * * * * * *  

from Wonder

How like an angel came I down!

How bright are all things here!

When first among his works I did appear

O how their glory me did crown!

The world resembled his eternity,

In which my soul did walk;

And ev’ry thing that I did see

Did with me talk.

The skies in their magnificence,

The lively, lovely air;

Oh how divine, how soft, how sweet, how fair!

The stars did entertain my sense,

And all the works of God, so bright and pure,

So rich and great did seem,

As if they ever must endure

In my esteem.

A native health and innocence

Within my bones did grow,

And while my God did all his glories show,

I felt a vigour in my sense

That was all spirit. I within did flow

With seas of life, like wine;

I nothing in the world did know

But ’twas divine.

 - Thomas Traherne,

ca 1665

  * * * * * * * * * *  

The fields of wheat are waving

In the pearly blue

sky, as vast

as Nirvana 

The trees are lit

With stars, chorused

like crickets in white beams

of Moon  

Mountains, wooded rise

From a green sea, clear

and bright as her white sands


We are here

In freedom flocked

like winged larks

of light

  - T. Powell

Copyright 2013

 * * * * * * * * * *  

The Wind Among the Reeds

Mavrone, Mavrone, the wind among the reeds,

It calls and cries, and will not let me be;

And all its cry is of forgotten deeds.

When men were loved of all the Daoine-Sidhe.

O Shee that have forgotten how to love,

And Shee that have forgotten how to hate,

Asleep 'neath quicken boughs that no winds move,

Come back to us ere yet it be too late.

Pipe to us once again, lest we forget

What piping means, till all the Silver Spears

Be wild with gusty music, such as met

Carolan once, amid the dusty years.

Dance in your rings again: the yellow weeds

You used to ride so far, mount as of old -

Play hide-and-seek with wind among the reeds,

And pay your scores again with fairy gold.

- Nora Hopper

late 19thc.

* Mavrone - "my grief" (Irish)

* Daoine-Sidhe - People of the Hill; the fairy folk who stayed in Ireland after the coming of the conquering Celts

* Carolan - Turlough O'Carolan, the blind harper of the late 17th - early 18thc. who composed among many other tunes, The Silver Spear

 * * * * * * * * * *  

     from Wood Ways

Thus did the laughing king, the magic-maker,

Draw me into the wind-glittering wood

By an enchantment of blown boughs and lights,

And faint and myriad flickerings within

The many-pillared palace of leaves. The air,

A flying girl, flame-limbed, before me runs

Sprinkling the dark with jewels. Eyes are dizzy

With sudden color. O, the hyacinths!

I fall on knees watching the laughing king

Hide stars in wild blossoms. On moss I lie,

My eyes are shuttered but the earth is airy,

Dense to the body, to the spirit most clear.

O, so it was in the golden age. Men lived

In the bright fire, in air, in earth. They knew

Only the being of the laughing king

And had no name for themselves. A night

Of many million years breaks now to dawn.

 - A.E.


 * * * * * * * * * *  

Ode to Autumn

Endeavoring to fill the unremarkable days of eternal sameness

Where sunsets melt like honey into twilight

Sticking together the pages in that dusty book of hours

Our flaxen haired goddess of autumn

Relinquished her resolve to plow the fields

And fell to reveling in this her bountiful harvest

Of daydreams, barley and ripened apples

Having hewn through those strong and ancient roots

Tethering her natural form to this great but mortal sphere

She veered far from her fecund garden; unencumbered

And followed after a painted lady fluttering through the stranger’s gate

Which marked the entryway to an unattended labyrinth

Made wild from neglect and overgrowth

Creeping vines once covering familiar walkways

Leading nowhere; leading everywhere

A thicket, a bramble, a wandering hare

Lured her to a hollow in the hedgerow’s passageways

Where dappled impressions of fading sunlight begged,

“Make haste into the wood.”

She hurried to comply without a second thought

But hours passed and time forgot to call her home

The starry skies seduced her heart,

“Take your leave and rest a while.”

And so she made her bed beneath the yellow Harvest Moon

And fell into the deepest sleep

Her golden locks descended down into the soil’s underground

They grew co-mingling with the radicals

Who drank her dreams up in the night

And set the woodland floor alight as ale would a thirsty soul

This warming brew began a fire

That when then the dawn had broken through

Revealed one young sapling grown up into prime

A mighty oak with leaves of green

Now glimmering vermilion with gilded edges

Floating down against the blueness of the sky

At once proclaiming the arrival of fall

As they flew gently to the ground

 - Carolyn Johnson

@Copyright 2019 by Carolyn Johnson All Rights Reserved.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

Fay Song

My life is a dream - a dream

In the moon's cool beam,

Some day I shall wake and desire

A touch of the infinite fire.

But now 'tis enough that I be

In the light of the sea;

Enough that I climb with the cloud

When the winds of the morning are loud;

Enough that I fade with the stars

When the door of the East unbars.My life is a dream - a dream

In the moon's cool beam,

Some day I shall wake and desire

A touch of the infinite fire.

But now 'tis enough that I be

In the light of the sea;

Enough that I climb with the cloud

When the winds of the morning are loud;

Enough that I fade with the stars

When the door of the East unbars.

- Edwin Markham