December 2nd, 2006

More About "Them"


Don't call 'em fairies- that's Puck's advice,
But if you must, change "i" to "e",

Which looks a little more Jacobethan-
More like dark nights on the Northern moors

Than twinkle-time in a Bayswater garden.
The Sidhe or people of the hills

Or whatever we settle on calling them
Are not exactly amoral or cruel

But, looking at us as part of the landscape,
Will burn a barn or snap a limb

Or blow us up with combustible gas
With as little conscience as we hack trees

Or dump an old Hotpoint into a brook.
So its not quite war but there's wariness

And sometimes love. We have glamour for them
As they have for us. We change; They don't

And the fascination of otherness
Will get the occasional cavalier hoiked

Into faeryland and the odd seal-wife
Hitched up with a fisher. It rarely ends well:

The silkie goes slapping back down to the sea
After the breaking of some taboo

That was bound to be broken, while young Tam Lin
Gets a strong-armed girlfriend to wrestle him out

Of the seasonal ride. Their rituals are fixed
And as dull to us a Hapsburg court's

While our love of adventure must flay their nerves
And threaten their rules. We humans are creatures

More complex than they are, much less to the point.