Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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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."

Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, writing
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