This poem came out of the March 2, 2010 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired and sponsored by janetmiles.
In the first days,
the elementals walked this
world beside the mortals:
dwarves, elves, fairies, and undines.
Then the first days ended,
and the world became less malleable,
and the elementals withdrew to their own realms.
For a time all was well --
but it did not stay that way forever.
The mortals flourished
and soon they covered the world
with their cities and their business and their needs.
They stripped the Earth of its jewels and its forests.
They bound the Fire and made it labor for them.
They soiled the Air with the filth of their ways.
They robbed the Water of its many fishes.
Then the world began to falter under their weight.
The elementals looked out from their realms
and grew displeased.
"This is not good," said the dwarves.
"What shall we do?" said the elves.
"We must remind the mortals how to behave,"
said the fairies, fanning their fragile wings.
"Yes," said the undines, "but secretly,
for they are grown fierce, and a danger to us all."
"We will teach them to tend the land," said the dwarves.
So they revealed its cycles, and the mortals were enchanted,
and they began to take better care of the land.
"We will give them new games," said the elves.
So they made games that taught mortals of elemental magic
and the mortals began to cherish the wisdom hidden in each element.
"We will carry amusements for them," said the fairies.
So they showed the mortals radio and television and movies,
and the stories reminded mortals how much could be lost to carelessness.
"We will show them death," said the undines.
For they were the keepers of water, without which there is no life,
and the mortals shuddered to recall how close to the edge they had come.
It was not easy for the elementals
to slip through the mortal world and
do their work through dreams and inspiration,
but they persevered. Not all the mortals
were convinced by their insistence,
but some were, and these convinced others
in turn. Enough?
That play of the game is not yet complete.
Come, take up the cards --
the elementals will gladly deal you in.