Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Poem a Day XIX


The foggy air upon the breeze
curls and wisps and hides and flees;
it mocks the eye with changeling sight
like ghosts of ages in the night.

The wind like voices not quite clear
speaks the words of yesteryear;
They whisper, curling clouds of white
like ghosts of ages in the night.

And memories! They walk the streets
with fog around their soundless feet
as wraiths and phantoms, seely wights,
like ghosts of ages in the night.

'Seely wights', for those who are curious, is an old name for the fairy-folk, or perhaps more exactly for the fairy aristocracy, the oldest and noblest kind-- which makes it a term of respect. There's an old folk verse about it that was once especially popular:

Gin ye ca' me imp or elf,
I rede ye well, look to yoursel';
Gin ye ca' me fairy,
I'll work ye meikle tarry;
Gin gude neiber ye ca' me
Then gude neiber I'll be;
But gin ye ca' me seely wight,
I'll be your friend baith day an' night.

'Seely' is the original word from which 'silly' comes, through a long series of transformations; but you probably should not mention that to Oberon, if you meet him.

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