First frost fell in the faerie grove,
And then came snow, and wind, and ice.
Streams, and lakes, and rivers froze,
And crusted over, turning white.
The faeries, dancing in delight,
Throughout the night, in winter’s charm,
Raced each other between the pines,
And laughed to keep their spirits warm.
The pines themselves, both young and old,
Grew tired, and bent, and went to sleep,
Breathing in and out the cold,
With once a groan and twice a creak.
But someone else was still awake,
In glowing cottage of stone and shake.
And faerie children peered to see,
Through frosted glass, whom it might be,
Laughing, clapping, and smiling droves,
Dancing round the Blacksmith’s stove.
For two grown girls swung merrily round,
Locked in arms as the Blacksmith played,
The quick and lively, bouncy sound,
Of metal music box he made.
One step, two step, hair sweep, boot step,
Up and down the parlor room,
Three step, four step, skirt swirl, floor step,
Skipping beats to match the tune.
And no one thought for any minute,
Of their past, or the bad things in it.
Now the Blacksmith’s hair, had all turned grey,
In the many years since that horrid night,
In the flight to the woods where the faeries play,
In the hide, from the eyes, of the Giant's sight.
Still his chest was tight, and his arms were strong,
And his heart was right, and his eyes looked long,
And the forge he built, and the cottage too,
And the bow, and the spear, were things he knew.
But the smith also knew of other things,
Magic rings, and of bubbles galore,
And nor, did he let that knowledge lack,
And nor, did his magic fail to cling,
To the daughters, of his King.
For more and more, he worried, that,
The Giant would come back.
But tonight was not meant for worrying.
The smith’s step-daughter was seventeen.
Tonight the family was flurrying,
And toasting the birthday of Perlameen.
Dark brown hair, and water wells for eyes,
Full black lashes, and ruby belt sashes,
Temper kind wise, and too honest for lies,
The grown little girl had bloomed from her ashes.
Yet as she sang her life, and danced her heart,
She knew not the trove of her mother’s love,
Or the breadth of deed on her father’s part,
As the once wizard monarchs of Islegrove.
And their absence was an open blister,
As smith and sister, birthday-kissed her.
Poepilandia too, felt blister pain.
Three years older, she remembered the rain,
Of toxic lightnings, from the Giant’s helm,
Of her parents folly, and their magic realm,
Of her father’s curse, and the giant’s swear,
That her sister and she would serve his care.
And though Blacksmith’s rescue was crystalline clear,
Her heart had grown twisted, bitter, and queer,
At her loss of life as it might have been,
And she blamed them both, the King and the Queen,
And her anger seethed upon everything.
And yet, when Perla asked her why,
To again be a princess, was the dream of her eye,
Or why her anger, was a living cancer,
Poepi could not speak an answer.
It was as if her father’s curse,
Had upon her affected worse.
The exception, of course, was Perlameen,
Whom she now hugged hard, in a birthday embrace,
Laughing and talking, of their childhood finds,
And of how their lives might live out this place,
Here in the woods, with the faerie kinds.
Romance was a dream, they long spoke of too,
Of meeting by chance, each their own Prince,
Manly and tall, in battle armour blue,
Sending their hearts into flutter and wince.
Nibbling sweet words and whims in their ears,
He’d take them straight back to a castle once lost,
Braving all dangers, and slaying their fears,
Coming to woo them, no matter the cost.
“Don’t dwell on that dream!” the Blacksmith had said.
“Remember my dears, we hide here in dread,
Until, in splendor, the moment appears,
To put back the Giant into his stead!”
Marking his words, the girls always nodded.
Serving up frowns, both downcast, besodded.
But deep in their eyes, a secret gleam,
Still kept alive the princely dream.