Poetry, Uncategorized

Eliza Long, The Gypsy Girl

Hi everyone, I know it’s been a while. I’ve just finished drafting another book, so while I recover from that and other things, I thought I’d share a little poem I wrote for my nan’s 97th (I think) birthday, titled ‘Eliza Long, The Gypsy Girl’. For a bit of context, my nan’s always loved reciting John Keats’ Old Meg, and she used to tell me stories about when her mum was little and hid under her grandmother’s large gypsy skirts during storms. Also, my nan’s maiden name is Long, hence why it appears in the poem’s title.

Anyway, it’s just a fun bit of verse:

Eliza Long, the gypsy girl,

Danced daily atop the grassy hills;

Vibrant skirts twirling about her,

And around each ankle, chains of bluebells.

The townspeople, far below,

Whispered and muttered behind their hands:

“Hark, there’s that bold lass again,

Ignorant of how she endangers our lands.”

“Tempting the wrath of fairies

With each idle flick of her feet;

One day they’ll come swarming

And magic us away in a single beat!”

Jigging merrily between bush and tree,

Eliza heard their gossip on the wind,

But their worries did not trouble her,

For she feared no such thing.

True, the delicate bluebells’ ringing

Was said to bring unfortunate events,

For it alerted the fairy folk to any

Who might disturb their woodland dens.

Yet it was for Eliza’s loyal service

Of healing countless sacred animals,

That the Fairy Queen herself, no less,

Had gifted the girl her very own set of bells.

Talismans granting swift protection

(Should she wear them every day),

Against any who followed her home,

Or strived to put her in harm’s way.

Eliza Long, the gypsy girl,

Danced daily atop the grassy hills;

Calling upon the Fairy Queen’s aid

Whenever strangers tried to exert their will.

“How many have been spirited off now?”

The townspeople hissed over the years.

“Caught by scores of terrible fairies,

All due to those bluebells’ peals?”

Ignoring their suspicious chatter,

Eliza sang their curses away over the hills,

For she had not the heart to tell them

Every single victim had wished her ill.

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#52weeksofnaturepoetry, Poetry

Bluebells, bluebells! (Nature poetry to raise money for the RSPB – #52weeksofnaturepoetry Week 28)

Striking violet-blue, a rich carpet

of fairy flowers

(or perhaps you’d call them witches’ thimbles)

nodding to one side,

snoozing throughout the day;

brush past

and you might smell sweet puffs

of their snores.

Take care not to remain in range

of the bells’ delicate peal –

that playful tinkling

might bring an untimely death

(at least, that’s what fairies advise).

And should you pick a bluebell,

well, those devilish forest sprites

might have you trekking eternally

through woodland groves.

If you evade such a fate, however,

you could try

turning a bloom inside out;

manage without a tear,

and there’s a chance of enticing

the one you love

deeper into your life.

Beware, though, if lies and deceit

are your native tongue:

should a bluebell wreath

be placed upon your head,

truth will become the only language

to spill from your lips.

So take heed and be mindful

around anyone you’ve ever wronged.

This poem is part of a project I’m doing to raise money for the RSPB, a UK wildlife conservation and protection charity. Being autistic, nature is often my only place of solace, and I want to do all I can to protect it. As I’m not very comfortable around other people, most of the standard ways of helping out (volunteering, social fundraisers etc) were not a good fit for me, so I came up with #52weeksofnaturepoetry, where I have to post a nature poem here on this blog each week for an entire year without fail.

If you’d like to help, please share this poem to encourage others to take joy in nature, and if you have the time and means to donate, you can do so here. Let’s help keep our wildlife wild!

(You can also become a member of the RSPB and support them month to month. Members receive Nature’s Home magazine and seasonal guides for what to look out for when out and about. Details are on their website.)