The Fairy Child

The fairies of this poem are certainly not the diminutive flower fairies of Victorian children's stories, nor Disneyish Tinkerbells, but are the old pagan gods and heroes of Irish mythology, the Tuatha de Danaan.

The Fairy Child

by Lord Dunsany

From the low white walls and the church's steeple,
From our little fields under grass or grain,
I'm gone away to the fairy people.
I shall not come to the town again.
You may see a girl with my face and tresses,
You may see one come to my mother's door
Who may speak my words and may wear my dresses,
She will not be I, for I come no more.
I am gone, gone far with the fairies roaming.
You may ask of me where the herons are
In the open marsh where the snipe are homing,
Or when no moon lights nor a single star,
On stormy nights when the streams are foaming
And a hint may come of my haunts afar,
With the reeds my floor and my roof the gloaming,
But I come no more into Ballynar.
Ask Father Ryan to read no verses
To call me back, for I am this day
From blessings far, and beyond curses.
No heaven shines where we ride away.
At speed unthought of in all your stables,
With the gods of old and the sons of Finn,
With the queens that reigned in olden fables
And kings that won what a sword can win.
You may hear us streaming above your gables
On nights as still as a planet's spin;
But never stir from your chairs and tables
To call my name. I shall come not in.
For I am gone to the fairy people,
Make the most of that other child
Who prays with you by the village steeple.
I am gone away to the woods and wild.
I am gone away to the open spaces,
And wither riding no man may tell;
But I shall look upon all your faces
No more in Heaven or Earth or Hell.

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