Saturday, September 14, 2013

Queen of the Fairy Gully

This week I have something VERY different from the usual.

My family is moving, and for the last two weeks I’ve been trying to sift through, and eliminate, most of the detritus of years of academic study. That means lots of books (so difficult to cull books!) and papers that I feel pretty sure I will never ever look at.

One thing I did find, and had been looking for, was a binder of some of my early writing.

I found some pieces that I wrote when I was in my mid-teens and feeling particularly romantic about the past and Celtic mythology.

The image here is from one of my favourite books: Mythology of the British Isles, by Geoffrey Ashe.

The Fairy Glen
Betws-y-Coed, Snowdonia, Wales

As you can see, it’s a simple black and white photo of a place known as The Fairy Glen which is located in Snowdonia, an unbelievably beautiful region in north Wales.

I don’t know why (nor do I remember), but I was very drawn to this photo. My imagination was really taken with it, and the result was this attempt at a sort of freestyle poem.

I made no conscious attempt at style. I just wrote.

It’s not fantastic. However, it is a glimpse at some of my early inspiration and attempts to express myself through writing. It was even published in my high school paper - my first 'publication'. 

The best part is that recently I read this to my own kids at bed time one night and they LOVED it.

It was one of the most quiet bed times ever and they were all smiles. It was worth writing this all those years ago, just for that one moment of joy.

So, I hope you enjoy this no-blood-or-guts piece inspired by a single photo.

And if you have your own kids or grandkids, perhaps they’ll get something out of it too.


Queen of the Fairy Gully

There is a place
That man has not sullied,
Peace is always present
In the Fairy Gully.

A soft stream flows
Like sweet music to the ears,
The trees are emerald green
Their leaves shed dewy tears.

The moss-covered rocks
Protrude from the edge.
There the Fairy Queen sits,
The soft moss for her bed.

The fairy kingdom wakes
To see something afloat.
It is two young lovers
Asleep in a boat.

The young man and young woman
Had lately been wed.
The still fresh garlands
Under their tranquil heads.

Both are entwined
As pure as can be,
Love next to love
Ever so softly.

“Look,” said a fairy.
“The boat has hit ground.
We must send it down stream
Without making a sound.”

“Wait,” said the Queen.
“They pose us no threat.
I shall go see
What they dream in their heads.”

So down she went
To the lovers afloat.
Still laying asleep
In their small bridal boat.

The fairies watched
Their queen from up high,
As she placed her wee hands
On the lovers’ closed eyes.

“My dear Queen,” uttered one.
“Is something very wrong?”
“Yes sweet fairy.
They dream a sad song.”

“Their families spoke
And forbid them to wed.
Rather than obey
They picked up and then fled.”

“What do they wish for,” asked another,
“Within these sad dreams?”
“They wish for happiness, peace and love,
For the whole of eternity.”

“Help we will give
To this young couple,
By fulfilling their dreams
And freeing them of troubles.”

“Upon the morn,” declared the Queen,
“Take we them to the place,
To be alone under the Oak.
Untouched by all hate.”

The fairy Cordelia
Came forward to say,
“Dream dust shall I give them
To make sure they will stay.”

So the lovers dreamt dreams
And the fairies did too,
In this lush green world,
Glimmering moonlight and dew.

The early morning sun
Did thread its way down.
That orb shed its light
On the young lovers’ crowns.

The mist was thick
And the water calm,
As the fairies moved the boat
With their otherworld song.

“This deed shall we do,”
The Fairy Queen said.
“This couple will lie
In a warm bridal bed.”

The boat drifted up
To a white sandy shore,
Where a path led away
Through the Fairy world’s door.

Cordelia then spoke
With worry and haste,
“My Queen, how will we take them
To the ever-peaceful place?”

“Fear not, precious fairy.
I know what to do.
Behind that bush
There the stream flows through.”

“Spirits of the wood
Conduct this small boat,
Wherein lie these lovers
Who yet have some hope.”

The bush moved aside
And the boat moved along,
As the fairies sang again
Their ancient forest song.

Closer they came,
And the world all turned bright.
Water, rocks, moss and dew,
The gully flooded with light.

At long last there it was,
The life of this small folk.
Branching out to the sun
Was the old sacred Oak.

Its body was huge
And its limbs full of grace.
The leaves tell a story
Of countless lived days.

Down at the bottom
On the soft ground,
Grows a bed of bluebells
For the couple to sleep sound.

“Now,” said the Queen,
We must do what is best.
On bluebells lay we them
Before they wake from their rest.”

Once more the song came
With ever sweet delight.
The couple was lain
On flowers for that night.

“Fairies return to the wood.
We must not disturb,
These two that I wake.
We must be unheard.”

The fairies obeyed
The words of their Queen,
Who woke the fair couple
Upon the coming of eve.

The moon rose up
And the sun went down.
The couple awoke
To look all around.

“What beautiful place is this?”
Asked the young maid.
“I know not where we be,
But we must always stay.”

“Truly this is,” said the boy,
“A very peaceful place.
Never again shall we bear
Any anger or hate.”

Up above in the leaves
Sat the caring Queen.
A smile on her face,
A tear on her cheek.

“Live as one,” said the Queen.
“Be happy and free.
You will always be safe
In our green Fairy Gully.”

The maid and young man
Do dwell there all along.
At night, as they embrace,
They hear a comforting song.

And so the young lovers
Fulfill their life’s dream.
Due to the precious help
Of the loving Fairy Queen.

Here is the end
Of this ancient story.
New love and old song
In the green Fairy Gully.


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