Faeries on the First of May

by Elizabeth Barrette

Illustrated by Teresa Tunaley

Illustration by Teresa TunaleyThe world is cruel, the world is cold,
But never mind.
The world is fey, the world is old,
And you will find
That all it ever had, it keeps,
And won’t forsake.
That is not dead which merely sleeps
And may yet wake.

A hollow in the rolling hills,
A thicket rough,
An island where the river spills –
They are enough
To hold the dreams of distant time
And creatures strange
Whose names are lost in song and rhyme,
Yet still they range.

The faery folk are wee and wise;
They know the way
To muddle minds and baffle eyes
Of those who stray
Along the hills, or near the rings
Where faeries go.
A fool is he who trouble brings –
And they will know.

Yet there are those they welcome here
By ones and twos
To learn the lore of mist and mere
And share the news
Of all that passes in the world.
You must be light
Of heart, and quick of hand, and pearled
Of soul and sight.

How shall you know them when they come
To beckon you?
They blow no horn, and beat no drum;
You must see true:
A shadow in the blue monkshood,
A shooting star,
A whistle in the gilded wood –
And there they are.

They’ll give you eyes of moonlit jewels,
And hair of sun;
They’ll give you luck, they’ll give you tools,
And when they’re done
You’ll hear with ears as curled as shells
And lies will burn.
You’ll speak with words like falling bells
And heads will turn.

So come and wander, if you dare,
Beyond the pale
Where faeries linger, here and there.
It will entail
A little risk – but if you chose
The tamer way
You wouldn’t be here to compose
The first of May.

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