Zelda's Inferno exercise: the feats performed by fairies

Posted on: Sun, 07/31/2011 - 17:18 By: Tom Swiss

Zelda's Inferno exercise: this one was inspired by a passage in Another Roadside Attraction, which I've recently re-read:

"This next chapter begins with the image of a Greyhound bus streaking through a rural valley in the American West. That image is, in my humble estimation, an excellent on with which to begin a chapter (unless one is writing an epic of the Civil War) and I am gratified to have an opportunity to use it. Amanda came in just now to borrow a match for the lighting of incense and candles. I told her about the image with which this chapter begins.

"Good," she said.

"I think that's an excellent beginning image," I said.

"It's fine," agreed Amanda. "You sure you haven't seen the wooden matches?"

"It's just about as good a beginning image as anyone could come up with," I said. I was feeling cocky about my bus and my valley.

Amanda stopped searching for the matches and looked me over. "Yes, Marx,", she said. "One could begin a chapter with an image of feats performed by fairies or an image of immunity from certain disasters or an image of the moonstone and its properties or an image of Don Ambrosio's pact with the Devil or an image of Chinese court dogs in moments of leisure or an image of the origins of virginity or an image of an owl flying in an open window and perching on Picasso's easel or an image of the unexplained appearance of gypsies in Europe in the fifteenth century or an image of what J.H. Fabre in The Life of the Caterpillar called the 'Great Peacock evening.' But you have chosen to begin with a bus and a valley and that is wonderful. Now, where are the fucking matches, dear? I've got my trance to attend to."

Use one of those images to begin a poem.

the feats performed by fairies

consider, if you will, the feats performed by fairies

I don't mean no little Tinkerbell

no delicate Victorian winged flower fairies

I mean the beautiful and terrible fey

the half-fallen angels, if some tales are believed

the child-swapping, bewitching nobility of the forest

the inventors of glamour

those who passed leaves and stones off as gold and gems

on many an unwary man

consider, if you will, the subtle ways

they have adapted to the modern world --

surely you do not think the fair folk have left us?

for I danced with them just last night

hidden now among us

from time to time they gather

in the forest, in the desert, in some field

at a dancehall, an art gallery, a theatre

bewitching mortals to convene with them

bewitching us to act and dress like them --

a camouflage of sorts

but look quick and careful

and you might spot the fey among the freaks

the dancer whose body cannot be that light

the man whose eyes are just a bit too bright

the child with words wise far beyond her years

the musician whose instrument brings forth tones

          beyond their hands --

the fey are among us