The Moorland Fairies

The folklore of the Scottish highland moors is extensive and, frankly, creepy as hell. This is a poem that narrates some of that creepiness. Enjoy…or whatever one does with this kind of poetry!

 Moorland Fairies

From marsh and hill through woodland, still,

arose the lithe-limb’d people.

Their frozen stare could nearly kill

e’en those under God’s steeple.

* * *

For many years they haunted men

and frightened little children.

They came at night from eerie dens

to poison, scare or steal them.

* * *

Hunted down with bow and gun

till all were tired and hopeless,

till one cold day, they came upon

a creature in death’s caress.

* * *

So pale and wan, it lay atop

a thicket, robed in grasses;

it’s bluish skin, stout hearts could stop

black eyes, like coal-molasses.

* * *

The men bent down to prod and stare,

its spindly shanks to gander.

The pall of death was everywhere,

with rancorous reminder.

* * *

But just as close to it they came

two deathly eyes did open

and breath reentered lifeless frame

for resurrection groping.

* * *

It lashed on them such furious might

and wicked rage, so cruel;

with hidden teeth, so sharp, a sight

that fed their fear much fuel.

* * *

With deadly speed and deft of limb

it pounced upon them swiftly;

it tore and scratched, ne’er piteous whim,

dispatching them quite briskly.

* * *

No sign was left of men nor lad

who sought to save their village.

All who remained, with fear gone mad,

with frozen hearts lay pillaged.

* * *

E’er since that day, those men of yore

we toast, their tales a’ telling,

who sought their courage to restore,

those impish devils, quelling.

* * *

And when this tale of death is told

young boys, their fathers, query,

“who were those monsters, grey and old?”

“They were the Moorland fairies.”

Photo courtesy of Honolulu Daily Photos

8 thoughts on “The Moorland Fairies

      1. I met with a poetry publisher for the afternoon yesterday. He also teaches literature at the local college. We spoke about poets stretching beyond their literary comfort zones. It’s a good exercise to keep fresh and original.

  1. Whooooo …

    I’d love to hear this one declaimed in the Scottish dialect!

    Almost worthy of Burns 😉 The only line that stumbles slightly for me is ‘fed their fear much fuel’ …

    Keep em coming. Your prolific output and constant quest for words inspires me. That’s the stuff writers are made of 😀

    1. It’s funny, Seymour. That line was the only one that stumped me. I literally pulled this thing outta my…uh, head, except for that one rather out of place line. I’m seriously considering an “epic” poem a la Milton. I want to really challenge myself with something way beyond my ken.

  2. Reblogged this on Rob's Lit-Bits and commented:

    After having a conversation about “old school” vs “contemporary” poetry with a young student in the middle of a Master’s degree in Comparative Literature, I thought this one might be a good one to repost. In honour of “old school”…

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