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Archive for the ‘poetry’ Category

The Flowers

All the names I know from nurse:
Gardener’s garters, Shepherd’s purse,
Bachelor’s buttons, Lady’s smock,
And the Lady Hollyhock.

Fairy places, fairy things,
Fairy woods where the wild bee wings,
Tiny trees for tiny dames–
These must all be fairy names!

Tiny woods below whose boughs
Shady fairies weave a house;
Tiny tree-tops, rose or thyme,
Where the braver fairies climb!

Fair are grown-up people’s trees,
But the fairest woods are these;
Where, if I were not so tall,
I should live for good and all.

   

Robert Louis Stevenson was a Scottish author who lived from 1850-1894 and is best known for his novels Treasure Island and Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

This site here has a list of the different illustrators chosen to illustrate the book over time so feel free to check that out. It’s interesting to see the different styles used http://flutterbypatch.blogspot.com/2011/07/flower-filled-days.html

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William Allingham was an Irish poet who lived from 1824 to 1889. This poem in particular has played a bigger role in pop culture than you would think (if you thought there wasn’t one)

From Wikipedia: The opening lines from Allingham’s poem The Fairies was quoted by the character of The Tinker near the beginning of the movie Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, as well as in Mike Mignola’s comic book short story Hellboy: The Corpse, plus the 1973 horror film Don’t Look in the Basement. This same poem was quoted in Andre Norton’s 1990 science fiction novel Dare To Go A-Hunting.

The Faeries

Up the airy mountains
Down the rushy Glen,
We dare not go a-hunting
For fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk
Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap,
And a white owl’s feather.

Down along the rocky shore
Some make their home,
They live on crispy pancakes
Of yellow-tide foam;
Some in the reeds
Of the black mountain-lake
With frogs for their watch-dogs,
All night awake.

High on the hill-top
The old King sits;
He is now so old and gray
He’s nigh lost his wits.
With a bridge of white mist
Columbkill he crosses,
On his stately journeys
From Slieveleague to Rosses;
Or going up with music,
On cold starry nights,
To sup with the Queen,
Of the gay Northern Lights.

They stole little Bridget,

For seven years long;
When she came down again
All her friends were gone.
They took her lightly back
Between the night and morrow;
They thought she was fast asleep,
But she was dead with sorrow.
They have kept her ever since
Deep within the lake
On a bed of flag leaves
Watching till she wake.

By the craggy hill-side
Through the mosses bare,
They have planted thorn trees
For pleasure here and there.
Is any man so daring
As dig them up in spite?
He shall find the thornies
In his bed at night.

Up the airy mountains
Down the rushy glen,
We dare not go a-hunting
For fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk
Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap,
And a white owl’s feather.

Here’s a video of someone narrating the poem.

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This was originally written in latin by Thomas Randolph and was later translated into english by James Henry Leigh Hunt. According to the first provided link, the verses were taken from a drama by Randolph called Amyntas, or the Impossible Dowry. The second link is a poetry site and will have more information on the author.

Song of Fairies Robbing an Orchard or Fairies’ Song

We the fairies blithe and antic
Of dimensions not gigantic,
Though the moonshine mostly keep us,
Oft in orchards frisk and peep us.

Stolen sweets are always sweeter;
Stolen kisses much completer;
Stolen looks are nice in chapels;
Stolen, stolen be your apples.

When to bed the world are bobbing,
Then’s the time for orchard robbing;
Yet the fruit were scarce worth peeling
Were it not for the stealing, stealing.

http://rpo.library.utoronto.ca/poem/1086.html

http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/fairy-song-3/

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Now this is the story of Olaf
Who ages and ages ago
Lived right on the top of a mountain,
A mountain all covered with snow.

And he was quite pretty and tiny
With beautiful curling fair hair
And small hands like delicate flowers–
Cheeks kissed by the cold mountain air.

He lived in a hut made of pinewood
Just one little room and a door
A table, a chair, and a bedstead
And animal skins on the floor.

Now Olaf was partly fairy
And so never wanted to eat;
He thought dewdrops and raindrops were plenty
And snowflakes and all perfumes sweet.

In the daytime when sweeping and dusting
And cleaning were quite at an end,
He would sit very still on the doorstep
And dream–O, that he had a friend!

Somebody to come when he called them,
Somebody to catch by the hand,
Somebody to sleep with at night time,
Somebody who’d quite understand.

One night in the middle of Winter
He lay wide awake on his bed,
Outside there was fury of tempest
And calling of wolves to be fed–

Thin wolves, grey and silent as shadows;
And Olaf was frightened to death.
He had peeped through a crack in the doorpost,
He had seen the white smoke of their breath.

But suddenly over the storm wind
He heard a small voice pleadingly
Cry, “I am a snow fairy, Olaf,
Unfasten the window for me.”

So he did, and there flew through the opening
The daintiest, prettiest sprite
Her face and her dress and her stockings,
Her hands and her curls were all white.

And she said, “O you poor little stranger
Before I am melted, you know,
I have brought you a valuable present,
A little brown fiddle and bow.

So now you can never be lonely,
With a fiddle, you see, for a friend,
But all through the Summer and Winter
Play beautiful songs without end.”

And then,–O she melted like water,
But Olaf was happy at last;
The fiddle he tucked in his shoulder,
He held his small bow very fast.

So perhaps on the quietest of evenings
If you listen, you may hear him soon,
The child who is playing the fiddle
Away up in the cold, lonely moon.

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Sung by the people of Faery over Diarmuid and Grania,

in their bridal sleep under a Cromlech.

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 it then:
Us who are old, old and gay,
O so old!
Thousands of years, thousands of years,
If all were told.

Here’s a youtube redition!

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Fairy-Land by Edgar Allen Poe

Dim vales- and shadowy floods-
And cloudy-looking woods,
Whose forms we can’t discover
For the tears that drip all over!
Huge moons there wax and wane-
Again- again- again-
Every moment of the night-
Forever changing places-
And they put out the star-light
With the breath from their pale faces.
About twelve by the moon-dial,
One more filmy than the rest
(A kind which, upon trial,
They have found to be the best)
Comes down- still down- and down,
With its centre on the crown
Of a mountain’s eminence,
While its wide circumference
In easy drapery falls
Over hamlets, over halls,
Wherever they may be-
O’er the strange woods- o’er the sea-
Over spirits on the wing-
Over every drowsy thing-
And buries them up quite
In a labyrinth of light-
And then, how deep!- O, deep!
Is the passion of their sleep.
In the morning they arise,
And their moony covering
Is soaring in the skies,
With the tempests as they toss,
Like- almost anything-
Or a yellow Albatross.
They use that moon no more
For the same end as before-
Videlicet, a tent-
Which I think extravagant:
Its atomies, however,
Into a shower dissever,
Of which those butterflies
Of Earth, who seek the skies,
And so come down again,
(Never-contented things!)
Have brought a specimen
Upon their quivering wings.

Here’s a video on youtube that unfortunately uses the tinkerbell movie for visuals, but it’s better than nothing

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This is a great book, both to read out loud and to read to yourself. I found this a couple of years ago and I loved it instantly. It’s a simple story about a girl who meets a faerie boy and goes off to faerie land with him. In return she shows him what her life is like on earth. In the end the come to the conclusion that they are better off in their own worlds, but part with a gift. They don’t part forever and remain friends until they’re both old and grey, but no one ends up getting spirited away.

This book is wonderful. The illustrations are energetic and colourful, but soft and whimsical at the same time. The best part though it always the way in which the story is told, and Yolen presents this story in poem form. Here’s an example;

He was a child of faerie folk,

A child of sky and air,

And she was a child of humankind,

Of earth and toil and care.

They met in the dusk of Hallow’s Eve,

When widows grieve

In widow’s weave

They met in the dark of Hallow’s Eve,

She had flowers in her hair.

It’s almost lyrical way it’s told both sets the mood of the story and makes it very easy to read. It’s also great because it’s one of the few faerie stories for children that features a male faerie. Most of the faeries in children’s books are female and this opens up faerie love to young boys too. And the fact that Jane Yolen is the author doesn’t hurt!

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