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Poem: "The Shortest Night" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "The Shortest Night"

This poem was inspired and sponsored by ladyqkat.  She asked for three crippled heroes defending their fairy village from attack, and here they are.  (I'm easily intrigued by unusual characters who might otherwise miss the limelight, and she gave great descriptions.)  Worth mentioning is the connection between the fey and deformities or other aberrations; it is often listed in fairytales as a way to distinguish them from humans.  But even a serious handicap needn't stop people from protecting what they believe in, and these three heroes are not  to be dismissed.

The Shortest Night


The fairies ride out without fail, without fear,
On Litha, the shortest night of the whole year.

The King and the Queen of the fairies ride out,
And everyone follows behind, without doubt.

With jingling harness and sparkling blade
They make a magnificent, mystical Rade.

Behind are the "nobodies" that no one counts,
Considered unfit for a fairy rade's mounts:

A fairy with one shredded wing from the time
That dog shook shook her madly to play with her chime,

A cat with no balance -- a problem, it's sure,
And nothing the likes of which glamour can cure,

A brownie who's scared of his own shadow's fall,
Too timid to answer the old battle-call.

The sidhe mor  was empty as empty could be,
With fairies off rading ... except for those three.

An ogre came down from the mountains that night
To smash up their sidhe mor, expecting no fight.

They watched as he climbed down the slopes of the comb,
Then three crippled fairies stood fast for their home.

He swatted them right and he swatted them left;
He bruised and bedeviled them, battered and reft.

He tripped on the brownie (was running away);
The cat clawed him fiercely, and how he did bray!

The fairy fell out of a tree on his head.
He swore he would drain them until they were dead.

The ogre sucked all of their energy out,
But that was an awful mistake and no doubt.

He swallowed the fairy's fragility first,
And blood from his terrible injuries burst.

He took the cat's lack of good balance the next,
Then fell on his face and cried out he'd been hexed.

He ate up the brownie's timidity last,
And crawling, fled wishing he still could run fast.

The King and the Queen and the Rade all returned
To find their sidhe mor  yet unlooted, unburned.

They listened to how the great battle was won
And hailed the three heroes for what they had done.

So don't disregard those imperfect or flawed
For they have their virtues some future may laud.

As for able bodies and honors they earn ...
Those don't last forever, as some villains learn.


* * *
The phrase sidhe mor  means "great fairy mound."

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Current Mood: busy busy

12 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
ladyqkat From: ladyqkat Date: July 6th, 2011 06:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!

Now I know what I want for my birthday. I just have to convince one of my artistic friends to do it.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 6th, 2011 07:17 pm (UTC) (Link)

Hmm...

If that birthday present involves illustrating the battle, I'd love to see the results. Hmm, meeksp does crowdfunded illustration. She took a break recently but is back now.
cflute From: cflute Date: July 6th, 2011 08:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
This made me get a bit teary-eyed. Totally fantastic!!!!

Reminds me a bit of the Cripples' Shield Wall from the Serious Steel album.

Thank you so much for sharing this, and even more for creating it!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 6th, 2011 09:46 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

>>This made me get a bit teary-eyed. Totally fantastic!!!!<<

I'm glad you like it.

>>Reminds me a bit of the Cripples' Shield Wall from the Serious Steel album. <<

Indeed, that song was cited in the original prompt, and I reread it before starting the poem. I'm pleased to contribute to the body of work about heroes who aren't entirely able-bodied.

>>Thank you so much for sharing this, and even more for creating it!<<

*bow, flourish* Happy to be of service! Crowdfunding makes the world go 'round.
mdlbear From: mdlbear Date: July 7th, 2011 12:39 am (UTC) (Link)
It also reminds me of Fred Small's "Talking Wheelchair Blues"

... and thank _you_ for prompting me to comment. This really is wonderful.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 7th, 2011 01:58 am (UTC) (Link)

Thoughts

That's a cool piece you linked to, thanks. I'm glad you like my poem too.
pocketnaomi From: pocketnaomi Date: July 7th, 2011 09:37 am (UTC) (Link)
...and of your own "Wheelin'" :)
mdlbear From: mdlbear Date: July 7th, 2011 03:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Maybe a little. I was thinking of

As for able bodies and honors they earn ...
Those don't last forever, as some villains learn.


... compared with Fred's

you're just temporarily able-bodied

... but, yeah, I can see some bits in "Wheelin'" that fit.
eseme From: eseme Date: July 7th, 2011 01:06 am (UTC) (Link)
Excellent! I do like to see hubris brought low.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 7th, 2011 01:50 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

Yeah, that ogre had one good plan ("Go housebreaking after everyone leaves.") and when it didn't survive first contact with the enemy, he was hopelessly out of his depth.
datalore From: datalore Date: July 7th, 2011 03:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
That was wonderful! I never thought I'd imagine my drunken cat (CH) Buddy as the hero in a story! :)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 8th, 2011 04:22 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

Yes, there's room for all kinds of heroes, including the unexpected ones. Maybe even especially the unexpected ones.
12 comments or Leave a comment