Little Erin made her way
down to that idyll isle
in the lake where druids pray;
her head sore all the while.
(Hey nonny, nonny,
nonsense and bonny.)
Her father had been drinking again
and took umbrage at her girlish songs,
so he struck up her chin
with a fist writ with wrongs.
(All sobby hobby,
head knotted and knobby.)
Erin’s mother had been pretty
and had a voice without equal,
both fair and clever and witty,
and Erin hoped to be her sequel.
(Still a silly filly
all wild and willy-nilly.)
She had told Erin many fanciful stories
about knights bold and maidens fair,
crowning her head with these glories
of when magic reigned everywhere.
you’re a fabulous yabber.)
Erin’s mother had died only a year since
from a cold caught from a chill breeze
and her husband had from then hence
drank himself vicious on various brandies.
(A handy man, he, yet, fie,
randy as a bitter brandy.)
Eager for escape, Erin went to the lake
and docked in the rocks, upon the isle,
tying the boat to an old oak stake,
singing her favorite song all the while.
(Do you dillydally
in my lake-view valley?)
It was a song about the fairy kin
that her mother used to sing,
telling of a magical portal within
the mound in the standing stone ring.
(Will you still be wild,
stolen changeling child?)
A mist breathed up from the water
as the sky darkened in the South
and, singing still, Erin sought her
dreams within that mound’s mouth.
(Winsome with want and whim,
dreams always dim.)
She crawled on her hands and knees
and thought she could hear the sound
of feet within the maze, as if to tease
her to crawl even faster into the mound.
(Fit and flit as a fiddlestick
that bit at a wick not one whit.)
How lovely, she thought, to dance
with the fairy people in their balls,
and how nice it would be, perchance,
to dine with them in their banquet halls.
(Dance and dine, what is mine is thine,
food and drink and song so long and fine.)
But the fairies did not greet her
as she crawled into the central room;
only rats circled to meet her
as her hand grasped something in that gloom.
(Ages old, slick and cold,
unseen, unclean, but of a familiar mold.)
It was long and smooth, like a scepter,
and Erin naturally assumed it to belong
to the queen of the fairies who kept her
followers hidden in the shadowy throng.
(What a lark in the dark—
merrily as unto a park.)
An oculus let in the darkening daylight,
funneling it into the heart of the mound,
and by its rays she took sudden fright
at the thigh bone she had found.
(Once delightful, now quite frightful,
the columnar light full of the spiteful.)
There were bones here and there scattered
in that rat-swarmed, chthonic place,
and Erin’s own bones chattered
as she saw the truth of the fairy race.
(The kin of men, faintly simian,
therein buried from way back when.)
Dropping the bone, Erin wondered
if any of the old stories were true,
thinking, as the storm above her thundered,
that there was nary a darker view.
(Alas O ill lil’ lass,
all this, too, will pass.)